The Animal That I Am

The animal I am now is something else. My wild is wilder. My free is freer. My happy is all but offensive. My favorite song writer says, “If you’re not getting happier when you get older, than you’re f@&*ing up.”

 I feel strong and adapted. I feel ready, in so many ways. Or more so, shaped for this. I’m getting to a higher skill level, as this turns out to be my life’s work. I’ve been walking.

 I’m not talking about my body, either. I mean my tolerance and the power that my brain has to process things. Cold…yes. Rain…yes. Mud…yes. What else is there? When I set out in the morning to walk certain miles, I set out with hope. Maybe that’s the back side of doubt; heads hope, tails doubt. But I don’t toss the coin anymore. I hold it up to my heart like a compass, heads up. I choose hope. That’s my red Fred in the shed. That’s the animal I’m committed to being.

 Last Monday, I was having lunch with a friend in Hot Springs. Hikers across the patio said, “Hey Kiddo, is it true that you’re going to be in Erwin by Wednesday? We’re planning on doing that in a week.” They laughed.

 “In theory.” I laughed back. “Yet, you may have noticed that it’s one pm and I’m still not walking toward Erwin.” I looked in the direction of the French Broad River. 69 miles by 4pm, the day after tomorrow. I nodded. “Yeah, I’ll make it.”

 I was there by 1:30pm on Wednesday and Tuesday was an effort, I’m not saying otherwise, but it worked out. The key is believing. I finally understand that.

 It’s not circumstances. It’s not money, time, age, gear…it’s my brain. You always were the only thing in your way.

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