Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thinking Out Loud

Take only as much as you need. Give more than you have. Use up every single thing that is inside of you for the good of others.

I’ve decided that if I am going to talk the talk, cliché as it is, I am going to have to walk the walk. Literally, I am going to walk. The walk. My goal is to do fifty walks in fifty days. I base the number on nothing more than a man I read of once who did fifty marathons in all fifty states in fifty days.

I am not a runner. I don’t even like the idea. But I could walk forever. I enjoy the slowness of walking. Slow not in the sense of time, but of mind. I enjoy absorbing the energy around me, taking in my environment until it becomes a part of me. Walking is very Zen-like, meditative. It feeds my soul. I have walked for pleasure and for exercise since I was in college, mostly in natural settings. I am not a fan of a treadmill or a track. I want birds and rustling leaves, acorns dropping to the ground with an occasional squirrel crossing my path. I can tolerate the stray construction truck or guy on a bike, but mostly I avoid roads in favor of paths, prefer woods over houses.

I am able to walk. I am capable. I am thankful for that.

So, now my mission is to choose my charities. My instincts tell me to walk for the people, the planet, the animals. This is how I choose the food I eat. Maybe it will work for walking. But leaving meat out of my diet and doing it for the people, the planet, the animals is almost self-explanatory. What exactly does that mean when it comes to throwing on a pair of Vibrams and hitting the trail? I need to get more specific.

Also, I have questions in my head. Am I physically able to do fifty walks in fifty days? I think I am. Are walks even arranged so that I could do fifty in fifty days? I don’t know that. I’ve only ever done one walk. I don’t know about these things. Where would I get all the registration and backer money I would need? I only have so many friends and so many disposable dollars. When would I do all of this walking? When I’m not teaching? Summer term, maybe? The hottest part of the year. That might not be the best idea.

If I had planned better, I would have waited another year and a half. I would have done this in celebration of my fiftieth birthday. Then there would be an even bigger theme and I could call the effort “Fifty in Fifty on Fifty.” I’m not quite that together. And I’m far too impatient to postpone.

So, I’m thinking out loud here. I like the idea of giving in a way I’ve never given. I am always up to a challenge and like to spend my time doing things I enjoy. I find great pleasure in walking, and I find great pleasure in serving humanity. And, I like to shake up the routine from time to time. I am not a meeting go-ing nine-to-five-er kind of gal. I like to be different and slightly extreme in a very somewhat conservative non-death-defying sort of way. I think I could do this. I think it would be fun. I think I am just bored enough right now to enjoy something like this in my life. And I think I am tired of spouting off about compassion and giving and change and then kicking back on my front porch with a good book and the evening paper thinking that I’ve done my job, expecting that someone else will do all the giving, that someone else will effect all that change.

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