It’s a week of anniversaries. Two years ago today I started a 2178 mile journey on the Appalachian Trail. At the time I didn’t know if I’d make it, but I was so excited to begin. Every week brought new faces, accomplishments, stories and surprises. And six and a half months later, I was almost surprised to find myself back home, having completed the whole thing- like waking up from a dream!
Today I was lucky enough to make three presentations to different sophomore classes who are studying Walden. That means I could talk about my hike for almost an hour three separate times! Do you know how happy that made me? I brought my gear to show. I lit my little stove. I talked about the value of time alone and about the power in not needing too much stuff.
And I talked about getting over fears. About how fear keeps us from being our most amazing selves. Whether its fear of not having enough or not being enough or not doing enough. Or fear that we don’t have what it takes to do the things we dream of doing. Hiking the AT did make me braver. And more quiet and centered and peaceful.
I also talked about how hard it can be to keep the lessons learned from a long hike or other “out of the norm” experience once we get back to the realities of living in a world full of distractions and activity. And I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, as my computer threatens to become an extra appendage. I’ll be heading to the woods at the end of the month and will appreciate the time to be still in nature for more than a day, I think. I am still learning how to balance my time in real life when electricity lets you stay up looking at a screen far too late into the night!
But back to fear and bravery. I felt strong and capable on that hike. Powerful, healthy and happy. I enjoyed sharing photos with the students today and talking about that power and that happiness. Here’s are three photos from my slide show today that remind be of being strong and happy on the trail, and one outtake that reminds me to be silly and spontaneous.