“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
~Henry David Thoreau
A man occupies his mind with much as he walks. He even begins sentences in his head with “Me thinks …” But I know what HDT was getting at. Amid an eight-hour walk (after the day prior’s eight-hour walk) you’re bound to repeat some of the same thought topics as yesterday … and last week. I can’t count the number of times I’d considered my finish — what the beach would look like, who might be there, how it’ll feel to halt. Maybe I’d just roll my baby jogger into the sea, look around and ask “what’s next?” I practiced my response to the inevitable TV interviewer: “Hey Mikey Walks, you just walked across the country. What are you going to do now?” Then I saw the Music Pier in Ocean City, NJ, on my last stretch of land to trod and I couldn’t remember a word of it. Something about “taking a few days with my baby (my wife Brooke), kicking back with my feet up (on a tropical island) and getting drunk (Hello, tiki bar). Then, it’ll be time to get back to work building the scholarship fund.” That’s what I might’ve told the gushing camera crews on the beach, had there been any. In the end, I was relieved there weren’t. And not just because I couldn’t recall my silly, planned diatribe.
Since when did I plan ahead more than a few days anyway. It wasn’t a hackneyed pitch and red pen route that got me across the country on foot. It was a willingness to let go; a want to be led by forces bigger than my little world. The week following my finish was a stark reminder to heed the lessons learned out there in eight-hour thought sessions. Let go. Be in the moment. Plans are fine, but those forces are going to shake ‘em like a snow globe. Soon after I checked into Chez Hatfield (my sister’s house), my body did a six-month exhale and I got sick, as if to say “if we’re going to rest now, we’re really going to rest.” There would be no tropical island, no revelry, no whisking away my woman in heroic fashion. I was laying prostrate before the tissue box and Nyquil by Christmas morning. Things change. The road turns. And that’s OK. Because the really important part of my silly planned quote might have sounded an afterthought: “… then it’ll be time to get back to work building the scholarship fund.”
Tonight, that work continues in earnest, at the first Mikey Walks *Fun*raiser in Northeast Philadelphia (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS). The walk was but the beginning, the first steps in a much broader journey. Me thinks this is bigger than my little world.