I remembered the mountains today in 8th period. We're studying personal finance right now. Calculating interest rates on car payments and imagining up all kinds of wild and crazy scenarios for employment. Today we were trying to balance the budget of an imaginary classmate who worked at Kennywood and lived in Etna. One girl claimed it was possible to take the PAT bus...she had done it. I believed her. She's one of several children of infamous parents in our district. They run wild, and I could totally hear her mother's gravely voice telling her to go on, get out, while shoving a twenty into her palm.

Others suggested walking since even a monthly bus pass was stretching our budget. A car payment had already been ruled out, with cell phones with a data plan taking priority.

Maybe a bike, someone guessed.

Have you ever ridden on route 837, I asked them? Let's add in a better medical insurance plan.

You couldn't walk there, they said. Too far. Not possible.

Oh, it's possible, I told them, I once walked from Georgia to Maine. And for a moment I went there, to the place where my legs are strong and the weight of my pack makes me feel comfortably grounded to the earth. I saw the mountains stretching out a thousand miles in front of me, and a thousand miles behind.

I remembered what it was like to have all the time in the world.

I just bought Laurel a pair of boots. I'm the kind of parent that doesn't plan ahead too well. For instance, I waited until the day it actually snowed, with temperatures plunging into the teens before I actually went out and shopped for winter clothes for Laurel. Pickings were slim at the Target, since they already had a display of bathing suits in the children's section. I don't know what's wrong with me. I mean, this is Pittsburgh. It's obviously going to snow and be very cold for months and months. And she walks almost a mile to daycare every day!

Anyway, I bought her some snow boots, which she absolutely loves. Yesterday we walked home from daycare. Wandered would be a better word for it, I suppose. With our boots on, we could happily slosh through the muddy melting snow in the park. We took a detour down one of the trails and watched a squirrel gather dried leaves and then stuff them into his little hole in a tree. Laurel talked to him. Hello, squirrel, she said, what are you doing? We saw the moon rise, and watched a lone bird fly towards the sunset. We stopped to admire some snowmen.

Walking is my meditation. I know who I am and what I care about when I'm on foot. I see and hear more. I feel good when I've done a lot of it. I wonder if Laurel will grow up with that idea firmly planted in her head, or if she will be like my students- like I was, and believe that 2 miles is a very far distance, 10 nearly impossible. Two thousand...unimaginable.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Katy,
I was just pondering........
Since we moved to TX we walk the dogs on the average, 5 nights per week, 2 miles per walk, 50 weeks per year for 14 years. That's about 7000 miles.
Uncle Joe