March 30, 2013 by Last Star blog
I just finished a book called Wild, a memoir of a woman who hiked the Pacific Coast Trail solo. It gave me pause about the journey Hank & I are on and the ones happening around me. My brother-in-law is embarking, very soon, on a long hike through Spain, solo too. Hank and I talk about this trek often and how much we admire his dedication and preparation for his journey. I know this adventure of his will be a remarkable personal experience and we will think of him as puts the miles under his boots.
I began to really consider the women I know, the amazing courageous woman who have chosen the harder path for themselves. I don’t think anyone ever tells them they are courageous and brave. I have a couple of friends who have chosen single life over married life, not because the married life they were living was horribly disastrous but it was not a perfect union for them. My mother used to describe some men as ‘perfectly good’ and to leave one was a waste. I always thought this was a little bit like shoes. I own lots of ‘perfectly good’ shoes that I never wear but I DO have one pair of perfectly-suited-to-me cowboy boots that go with everything: 365. I think one friend was married to a pair of high-heels and she is really a Birkenstock/flip-flop kind of gal. However, the decision to leave was frightening and courageous. I think recognizing the limitations or constraints of a situation is tremendously difficult to begin with, sometimes overwhelming to acknowledge let alone act upon. I digress, I was contemplating journeys and how some can be from beginning a college life away from home, starting a brand new job, finding a new passion such as running or biking after 40, battling an unnamed disease, staying with a spouse through incredibly difficult times or the steadfastness of a mother’s love when our children flounder. Courage and grace, everyday.
Hank and I are at the farthest point south we intend to go on our particular sailing crossing. From here we will re-trace our path, explore some place we missed, and head north. A rare thing in a journey, to be able to go back and look again. We have a long sail today and on these days the wind is moaning and sighing through the sails, the water is so blue the sky looks periwinkle in comparison, poor sky. It gives me too much time to think and reflect. The things I have learned on this journey are not yet to the forefront of my consciousness but I know I am stronger, I know I have more tolerance, I know myself a little better and WE are stronger. The fear and apprehension I had before we began this trip felt insurmountable. Many people said we were brave, many said we were crazy, and a few thought we would never leave the dock. It took some courage on my part to say yes and then embrace it. There were 100 variables to deal with and I imagined at least 50 ways to fail. So far–there have been a few isolated moments of real fear but we faced them together in solidarity. At the end of the day, we are not done with this discovery or ascertained everything in our path, but we are still sailing along. I have less angst about the next months and what the voyage will bring, but here at the southern most point of our passage, I am inspired by those courageous people in our lives and I am hoping to sail out this journey with courage and grace. Thank you for all your examples.