The first time I walked more than a few minutes after I broke my hand, it was unexpectedly terrifying. My brain was sure I was going to trip again and fall again and the sidewalk felt like it full of danger. It took all the courage I had to walk three blocks to the pizza takeout for dinner (otherwise, no dinner!) and walk back to the hotel. The next day I did six blocks each way, and then each time after that, I went a little farther, proving slowly to myself that I wasn’t going to crash and burn every time I stepped outside.
By the time I left Terre Haute a week later, I had started to rediscover the serenity of walking. No phone, no music, just me, with eyes and ears open to everything in the big wide world and my brain ruminating on anything and everything.
When I got to the Cape, the sound of the waves against the shore became the background music of my walks. Maybe it’s because we’re mostly made of water that the ocean surf relaxes me like nothing else.
Through July and early August, my walking confidence grew: I could balance on rocks, walk on uneven surfaces, and scramble when needed to get to a better perch to watch a sunset. Each walk became a chance to explore my surroundings and also explore myself. I had a lot of time to think about what I was doing out here vagabonding around and what I might want to do going forward.
I don’t have any big announcements or even moderately interesting insights to share about all my thinking. I can say is that slowing myself down to a walking pace gave me the space to breathe and relax and it’s been changing me at a very elemental level.
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.