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04/20/2007 Archived Entry: ""
Have you ever noticed that Claire can make anything sound deeply significant and freighted with all manner of soul-transforming profundity?
It's me; PSM. Hi.
Ever since I can remember, I have loved going out after heavy rains to see how the rivers, streams, brooks and dams have swollen. It so happens that we just had such a period this past week, and it also just so happens that I am blessed to live in an area with a superabundance of streams, rivers, brooks and dams. Early in the day I had seen an upside down kayak (presumably unoccupied) go racing downstream by my house; I knew it was going to be a good day. A day filled with fresh insight, and meaning, and all kinds of, you know, deep, good stuff.
It's just a short walk down to the first of these dams, so I set out in the early evening to tour the waterways. Well I got to the first dam, and it was spectacular. It's not far from there to the next dam, so I kept walking. The second dam is bigger than the first, and it was even more spectacular.
Every step I took was empowered with the vigor of life renewed, every bend in the road seemed heavy with the fullness of spring and fertility. One thing kind of led to the other, and before I really thought about what I was doing, I had walked five miles or so downstream. And it was getting dark.
Walking five miles or so for me isn't that big a deal. At least, it didn't used to be. That was before I spent all winter cooped up indoors being a stay-at-home dad. By the time I convinced my inner ten-year-old that it was really time to turn back toward home, I could already tell I was going to be sore the next day.
The problem with traveling five miles in any one direction is that you have to travel the same distance in the opposite direction to arrive back at your starting point. In this case, the walk back home was noticeably more uphill, and soon things were falling apart for me pretty rapidly.
The last mile or so was a real gut check. Honestly, if I could have stopped, I would have. But there wasn't any other way I was going to get home except to just keep on walking.
Pain can be profound. Suffering can be meaningful. This wasn't that kind of pain and suffering. It was just the regular old kind of pain and suffering. The miserable kind. Made only more miserable by the fact that it was my own stupid fault that I was suffering. And Claire, as I ground out those last few thousand yards, I want you to know I thought of you, and your recent blog on the subject of walking, and convenience, and every time I thought about giving up and just lying down on the side of the road to die in the ditch, alone, in the rain, in the finest tradition of Hemingway or Steinbeck, I said to myself, No -- I have to survive this so I can blog it. People have to know the truth about walking. If I can save just one person, preferably a child, a towheaded, doe-eyed child, it will all have been worth it. As I learned from the liberal media, anything -- any cost, any amount of suffering -- can be justified as long as it saves at least one child. Or was intended to save at least one child.
I jest, of course. The fact is, I hadn't done any serious walking in probably four or five months, and then in a fit of joy I tried to just reel off eight or ten miles over uneven terrain. I made a big mistake, and my hamstrings have been paying for it for the past three days.
Not that I regret it, mind you. Isn't that funny? As sore as I am, I can't say I regret a single step, not one moment of excess. And as I thought about that while changing from heating pad to icepack recently, it occurred to me that some of the best things in my life were my biggest mistakes. Two of them are competing for my attention right now. In fact.
And this is the part where someone smarter than myself makes an incredibly brilliant observation about the value of making mistakes and suffering the consequences and then neatly ties that in to some liberty-themed position on freedom. I'd do it, but I have to go deal with the strawberry-jam covered consequences of two very big mistakes that I don't regret making.
Posted by Penguinsscareme @ 08:43 AM CST