2011 was a really difficult year for me. I was physically ill most of the year, then in September I had an incident happen that led me to a therapist and treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have come a long way since that day last September, but sometimes still need to be reminded I am safe and even though I am not as physically healthy as I want to be, I need to remind myself of what I know I can do in order to accomplish both scale and non scale victories.
On October 9, 2010 I completed a quest. I walked 10 miles. My new goal was to repeat the walk in 2011 but also make the return trip. For the reasons mentioned above, I had to rearrange my timing.
Quest:a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something!
When I think of the word quest, I think more in terms of a mission. Deeper than just looking for something. A pursuit of something which seems elusive. I was disappointed because I didn't reach my goal in 2011, but no longer. I learned so many things about myself and my life that I realize accomplishing that walk was only the tip of the "Quest". The real quest is about finding the real me, and it's, (as the saying goes), a work in progress.
I'm reposting the blog I wrote about that walk, and I changed my profile picture so I have a daily reminder of what I can do.
Mission Accomplished! My Quest for the Farm
October 9, 2010, 8:30 AM Ė Itís a beautiful fall day, a crisp 43 degrees, a bright sun shining with the promise of warmer temperatures as the day progresses. Until recently, I didnít know it, but Iíve been destined for this day for 47 years. Back in August, the vague memory of a childhood adventure inspired a present day goal of repeating the experience.
Today, Iím excited! I have a purpose! I have a destination, ďThe Farm!Ē Iím going to reach what I once thought might be the unreachable. Iím headed into an eight mile walk! Last year at this time I was fortunate if I could comfortably walk 8 feet. I start out with a spring in my step, and a bit faster than my average 3mph pace. Iím not in a hurry, I simply feel great! I have water, I brought my camera, what more do I need?
ľ mile Ė I pass the home of a friend, and suddenly wonder, ďOMG what if I have to pee! "Tighten up those abs, squeeze those tushie muscles and KEEP ON GOING!Ē I keep on going.
The beauty of the day inspires a song in my heart as I pass a tree farm
ďOh the mountains declare He is Lord, and the valleys proclaim He is LordĒ Iím surprised to realize Iím singing out loud. Iím thoroughly enjoying myself, taking in everything I can, the sight of leaves floating gently to the ground, the sounds of my footsteps on the blacktop, and the hum of a power saw as someone is cutting logs for fire wood, the scent of burning leaves, and yes, even that ďfresh country airĒ as I pass by the fields of a beautiful Farm I can see on the Horizon.
2 miles Ė Just over the hill, is the farm where we saw the girl on horseback on that long ago day. As has become my habit on these walks, I whisper a prayer that God will bless her, and her family, wherever they may be. I am in awe of His ways. Who could have guessed, an incident in the life of a ten year old child would inspire prayer over forty years later?
Itís beginning to warm up now, time to shed the jacket. Iím thankful I wore something I can tie around my waist. I turn the corner and realize Iím walking into the glare of the sun. ďShould have worn a hat, and OMG I really do have to pee! oh well only 6 more miles, tighten up those abs, squeeze those tushie muscles, and KEEP ON GOING! No matter what!Ē
My thoughts wander aimlessly as I head into mile 3 on the road to the old Church. As I look across the fields I can see the School I graduated from. I feel a momentís sadness for the missing memories of my High School years, and quickly change the thought train to the activities shared with my son when he attended the same school.
Iíve reached the Church and decide itís worth the extra steps to enjoy the serenity and
beauty of the surroundings. I spend a few minutes snapping some pictures before continuing on. At 4 miles Iím laughing. I take a picture of the school from this distance, but the camera is new. A gift from a dear friend, and I havenít a clue how to work the zoom, or even if it has one.
Iíve read about interval walking. The theory is, walking at varying speeds increases calorie burning for a longer period after exercise, (at least thatís what I think it means). I increase my pace as I head into mile 5, (the stretch my family was concerned about me walking alone). www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
Iím really thankful I drove here and walked it a few times. Itís now familiar and I have no doubt I can do it. Traffic is being kind. Iím amazed at the courtesy shown by drivers today. During the practice walks the high speeds caused some nervousness. Today, itís as if they, (drivers), know Iím on a mission and they are being especially thoughtful. Iím sweating now. I finish my water and am happy that Mom is going to meet me with a fresh drink. I arrive at the 6 mile intersection with 15 minutes to spare. I donít want to stand around and wait, I want to keep walking, but that will add more steps. What if I get too tired from the extra steps and canít finish the walk? ďTighten up those abs, squeeze those tushie muscles, and keep on going! No matter what!Ē
I walk to the elementary school where I attended grades 1 through 3. From the front it looks the same. Additions have made the building larger, but the playground is still on the hill behind the school. I walk around, and up the hill. Itís different, yet somehow the same. As Iím returning down the hill, a memory flashes in my mind, ďitís cold outside. I see myself huddled in that corner over there with my arms around a smaller child who is wearing a red coat. Then, I hear my Grandmothers voice in my mind, telling me about Patty Lee riding the bus home with me and how cute she looked in her little red coat.Ē (That conversation actually took place a few years after Patty Lee was fatally injured in a car accident. I was the driver of the car). I stop to take a picture of the front of the school and notice Turbotville is spelled TVRBOTVILLE.
Itís funny how a mind wanders from place to place when itís free to do so. That V made me think of my other Grandmother, and her family name.
I look to the intersection and donít see Momís car so I decide to walk down the street where I showed the boy my lace bloomers. I was no longer thinking about the added steps making me tired. I remembered reading a book titled A walk to Remember, and I calculated by the time I got back to the intersection I would have my 8 miles covered. Mom pulled up just as I got back to the meeting place. God bless her, she was thoughtful enough to bring me a snack. I filled my water bottle, and was off for the last two miles. I walked down Main St past the house where we lived, thinking how small the world is. The neighbor boy I played with then, now lives next door to my Mom.
Iím on the last stretch. I feel almost giddy. As I pass houses, I think about the ride on the school bus and try to recall who lived in each house. I laugh out loud when I realize those kids I remember are all boys I had crushes on at some point in time. I couldnít remember one girl besides Patty Lee and my Aunt.
Another walker approaches from the opposite direction. We smile and say hello. She remarks, "Couldn't ask for a more perfect day for a walk." "That's for sure !" I answer, because, as I said earlier, I believe this day was foreordained for me many years ago.
Up ahead, I can see the the last curve, before the house comes into view. I can see where the orchard used to be, but I can't yet see the house.
My steps slow.
I have butterflies.
Why am I crying? "Don't stop! Keep going!"
God what is "IT"? why am I crying?
I miss my Dad, I miss my Granddad! I miss the little girl I once was. I wasn't expecting this emotion at all! I was expecting excitement. I was expecting pride in the accomplishment. I don't really know what I was expecting, but I sure wasn't expecting to sob like this.
I take the next step around the bend in the road, and IT'S there!
"IT" isn't the house! "IT'S" Christmases and Birthdays, Thanksgiving turkey and Easter ham and eggs. "IT'S" mashed potatoes and Granddad running water over the electric beaters while they're still turned on, while the family laughs and tells him how dangerous it is. "IT'S" REAL cocoa, and peanut butter toast made from homemade bread for breakfast on cold mornings.
"IT'S" playing hidey go and catching lightning bugs in the dark. "IT'S" picnics and camping. "IT'S" happy and sad, anger and forgiveness, love and laughter, life and God!
The house and yard are different, changed in ways like the school, yet the same. I have a feeling akin to De Javue, but, I know I've been here before. I walk up into the yard, behind the garage, look over the field to where the barn once stood. I hated that barn. There were reasons to fear it. Bees and bogey men.
Suddenly! I know why I had to come back. I wrote in a previous blog about my daddy's passing. His last coherent words were, a plea to help him remember the good things. He's been gone a year, but we're still grieving. Life has never been easy for our family, and for whatever reason, the unhappy times seem to stay with us longer than the happy ones.
I came back so I could regain some of what was lost. I came back so I could remember the good things! An epiphany! I feel great!
Mom arrives with a sign she made. October 9, 2010 The Farm! I can see the love and pride in her eyes as she snaps a picture. I am so fortunate to have her. We get in the car and I drive home.
It's finished. I reached a major goal. Now what? Next year to the farm and back!
I now have a new Mantra! "Tighten up those abs, squeeze those tushie muscles, and keep on goin no matter what."
Notes: The woman who now lives on the farm is a childhood friend. She knew of my plan, and gave permission for me to walk about. I wasn't trespassing.
For those who are interested, there are some additional pictures on my Spark Page. (although not very good ones since I couldn't find the zoom)