Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hike No More…

I broke down in great sobbing cries this morning in front of that grand old abandoned cotton mill. I could walk no longer. My legs were aching and my mind was bereft.

“Why can’t I stick with one thing and do it right in my whole life,” I declared as I sat upon the old loading dock as I threw a small granite rock upon the train tracks. The rock pinged upon the metal rail and bounced off loudly.

I am at an impasse as far as my hiking goes. I can be so lazy sometimes. My nine mile days have dwindled down to six and then to three.

I sat and ate my packed lunch of turkey and Swiss on rye sandwiches as I drank long drinks of lemonade. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I steadied myself to walk on home.

“One of these days, you are actually going to see something through to completion,” I said as I talked to myself walking with a renewed zeal.

I arrived at my home with very sore legs and a downtrodden heart. One of these days, I am going to get it right and hike the Appalachian Trail. Until then, we always have tomorrow. Tomorrow is the bane of my life.


Kristen said...

Tomorrow is the bane of my life.

Well, not so fast. You have many gifts, and you are still here to share them, and that is good.

I first clicked on your blog because I thought it was about music.

Yesterday Cleveland lost it's Blues Legend, Robert Lockwood, Jr.

He lived to be 91 by not worrying and by exercising every day. (Full story at my blog.)

That is a very good way to live!

So, maybe the entire Appalachian Trail is too much at one time! Doing a section every year could spread the pleasure out over a long time.

Who says you have to do it as a 'through hiker' all in one year??? Bah!

When you want to take off and do a section, just do it. 3 miles a day, 5 miles a day, 1 mile a day. Who cares. Just do it and enjoy. :)

(And try to stop worrying so much!!)

Phil said...

It's been a few weeks that I am a silent reader of your blog.
You say today “Why can’t I stick with one thing and do it right in my whole life". Well I just want to let you know that you are a talented writer. You have a genuine talent in depicting your daily life and in choosing the right words. And I had a look at your blog archives and you have been writing for more than two years. This is sticking with something, isn't it.
Don't be too hard on yourself.
Do not let go. You will succeed. It is the journey that matters, not the destination.

Kim said...

I am like Kristen and will say a big Bah! I think you are just marvelous with what you do despite your illness. Forget the apalachain trail and just enjoy life. Hike because you enjoy it! I wish I could just walk one mile let alone three! I couldn’t even think of hiking nine! That seems like such an incredible distance to walk. I am stuck inside most days in front of this computer with nothing to do but read because of my schizophrenia. Take care of yourself and chin up!

Love ya,


Andrew said...

Yes, you are all right. Sorry for my little pity party this morning. I can be such a discouraging perfectionist despite my disability and my limitations. As Pipe Tobacco will tell you, I am an all or nothing kind of fellow. I can’t do anything half assed or I won’t do it at all. I do want to add that I very much enjoy my daily hikes. I have found them grand moments of introspection. I will once again hit those rails tomorrow. Maybe three miles is just enough for me to enjoy my walks without it feeling like a chore. I liked Kristen’s idea of hiking the trail in segments. And thanks Phil for the journey and not the destination comment. Love you too, Kim!

Kerry said...


I just happened upon your blog, and wanted to say that I really enjoy your writing. Very descriptive and real.

Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing it with all of us.


PipeTobacco said...


I believe you hit the nail on the head.... when you commented above on being an "all or nothing" person. While that can be a very typical way to view life, it is not always the most comfortable, nor the most successful where long-term goals are concerned.

Perhaps if you can figure out a way to accept only doing 90% sometimes, or 80% other times, or other percentages some of the time, you will easily and naturally be able to "carry on" with whatever goal you have in mind instead of having the feelings of throwing in the towel. It is something I had to learn academically early in my career and it has helped me greatly. It is also something I try to instill in my students. Since an enormous percentage of my students are aiming for health related careers (pre-med, nursing, occupational or physical therapy), they have a tendency to be perfectionists too. I stress to them from the very first lecture, the very first sentence out of my mouth, that PERFECTION IS NOT POSSIBLE, and that the goal of perfection is the single most detrimental factor they HAVE control over in their success in my courses.

Many do not see nor believe it until they end up failing, and usually they are failing not because they are not bright, but because the start to obsess over insignificant minutiae instead of focusing on the overall goal.

I think accepting a good middle ground in damn near everything in life is far, far healthier and more successful. Be it in love, be it in computers, be it in writing, be it in smoking or drinking, or be it in anything you can imagine.



zirelda said...

Banes? My own feeling is yesterday should be the bane if there is going to be one, because we can't go back and change yesterday. Tomorrow still has a chance. :)

SimplyTim said...


I have a few things I say to myself from time to time:

"It's an imperfect world."

"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first." (Attributed to ? Brian Tracy)

Years ago I climbed Mt. Lafayette in the White Mountains (N.H.) - just about a mile high. I'd have a heart attack if I tried to do that now in the same amount of time. But several years ago I got in the habit of walking every morning and find a happy medium between my schedule and my 40 minutes. To increase it and make it more real I walk in an area with some small hills. On the days when it raining or too cold I walk in the mall and mix it up between walking on the level then up and every set of stairs I can find.

Be well, find your reset button and get on with it when you can.

m said...

Dude. You are too hard on yourself.

Holly said...

Oh my… you are making my heart ache today. Do you know I have some of the same bad habits and can’t seem to make headway? I have given up on balancing my check book and my purse is continually a mess. This may seem very small… but I have tired so long to resolve these two issues among many others. As SimplyTim has said... life is indeed imperfect. What I have learned about exercise is that you need variety. So maybe your mind is kind of burned out on hiking right now. Do something else for awhile that will build the same endurance. Did you know you can join the YMCA for free? If you are on a limited income and you take the paperwork with you, they will admit you for free. This way you could walk/run on the treadmill while watching TV or listing to a radio. You can work out on all of the other equipment as well. Most YMCA’s have pools you can swim in also. So… think about altering your workout.

And what about doing some research on places other than the Appalachian Trail? Have you looked up Longs Peak? It is the highest mountain on our continent... 14,256 feet. Yes, that’s right; it’s higher than Pikes Peak. I have climbed it… taken a two day hike, navigated through the boulder field, climbed through the keyhole and then onto the top. No ropes are needed… and it’s challenging. You will walk past parts of glaciers, go up past the tree line, hear whistling marmots, see the tundra and so much more. You could take a bus to Estes Park, Colorado and there are lots of camp grounds you can stay in until you start your Longs Peak hike. There are many other smaller hikes to take if you wanted to make it for a few weeks. There is Twin Owls and the Mummy Range also. Email me if you want to talk about it more. I have lots of other ideas as well. When I was much younger, I went on all kinds of adventures.

I love what Kristen said… about the guy who lived to be 91! You will live long also so be kind to yourself and don’t fret :)

Leann said...

Do what you enjoy Andrew. When it becomes a chore it's no longer such a grand idea. If this trail thing is meant to be, it shall come about when you're ready.

You have so many other gifts you give to the world.

Cheryl said...

You have a lot of wise readers with some really good thoughts. I'm also an all or nothing person, so I can relate. You'll find your balance with your walking. It will be what it will be.

austere said...

Was it that nerve pain again?
And the rest of what i was going to say, has been said already, so..

Summer said...

If we're all honest, we all have the same feelings that you had yesterday. Some of us just have them more frequently. Today is a new day. I know you're awake. So, good morning and Happy Thanksgiving!