I had a lot of reasons not to do this: strangers, the uncertainty of bathroom availability, hot weather, did I mention strangers? But Jennifer's posts about Walk the Walk -- a march from Charlottesville, VA, to DC -- made it all seem possible, so Thursday morning I got up early, filled a water bottle, borrowed a backpack from Susie, and set out to join the group for that day's walk.
|This pack is made for walkin' - just, uh, not too far...|
I chose one of the shorter days, because I'm no hero. It was 12 miles, which I thought sounded doable, because I walk a lot. But you know something? Even if you have been walking a total of 4 miles a day for forever (well, since March, which in these pandemic times feels like forever), you still may not be ready to walk 12 miles in extreme heat and humidity.
When we stopped for lunch, I sat down to put some bandaids on my blisters and guzzle an entire bottle of water and then tried to stop feeling weird in the head (it was HOT). At that point, another woman my age said, "My husband's picking me up. You want a ride back?"
Reader, I said yes. Even though I really liked walking with that group, I felt that they just didn't need to be having to carry me when I passed out around mile 9. It was hard to admit to myself that 12 miles might be a stretch, because I still picture myself as being 25 years younger and able to do just about anything. Remember? I was the one who thought I'd be fine a few years ago, traveling cross country on a train and sleeping sitting up in coach.
So my day ended up with my walking only 6 miles with a group of really nice individuals. Part of the time I carried a Black Lives Matter flag someone gave me to wave at passing motorists. I'm a hardcore activist now, people. I had a flag. The rest of the group chanted things, but I had to save my energy for breathing. And waving that flag.
The group finished their trek this morning, walking from Alexandria, VA, to DC to join up with the larger March on Washington. And I'm sitting here at home, newly humbled, listening to the speakers and looking at the crowds on YouTube and thinking, "How are all those people standing up for so long? And don't they have to pee?"
I have high aspirations, really I do! But reality seems to get in the way of implementing them.