So much walking.
The semester officially started two weeks ago, but I've been working on projects and the like since before then. These last few weeks have been especially full. Even tomorrow (Saturday) I have an all day seminar to learn a particular programming environment. After that I still have a tremendous amount of reading to do before next week. It's been too long since I sat down and wrote something. I miss writing here when I don't get to it as often as I'd like. When I'm walking around the city I'm often composing rough drafts of these posts in my head.
Speaking of walking (smooth segue, no?), it was probably my second day living in New York when I had a very grave conversation with myself about footwear. We (me and myself) had a robust debate about the shoes I owned. After only maybe six or eight blocks I would find that my feet hurt with a sort of intensity I don't know that I've ever felt in my feet before. When one's feet feel like this, one becomes preoccupied with one's shoes. At that moment it seemed that nothing but my running shoes was capable of sustaining me in this city. I had visions of throwing out every pair of shoes I owned except for anything with a scientifically formulated advanced foam insole. It took about three weeks of regular walking around the city before I noticed I no longer noticed how my feet felt.
Ever notice how many phrases in the english language have to do with walking? “All walks of life.” “Put your best foot forward.” “Walk the walk.” “Hit one's stride.” “Walk in the park.” I can only imagine that this is because walking is such a central part of our existence. A baby's first steps are a big deal for a reason. When we talk of Apollo 11, we don't say that men visited the moon or explored it; rather, we say that men walked on the moon. I no longer own a car. And though I get around using the busses and trains, I do an awful lot of walking too. In fact, I've come to feel a real energy in all this ambling about. Even if I'm completely pooped, there is an intangible vitality to walking beyond only my elevated heart rate.
I got to visit home for a little more than two weeks over the Christmas and New Year holidays. I was absolutely spoiled rotten. Thank you everyone for all the meals and times together. I had few things I absolutely had to do. No assignment deadlines. Certainly no job to get to every morning. Almost every free moment was spent with people I love. Nearly the whole break was sitting. If I went anywhere I drove. And it was the most peculiar thing. I missed walking. I mean I really missed walking. When I got back to New York, it felt so good to go up and down stairs and walk stretches of city blocks at a time. I did quite a bit of running for a few years before I moved to the city. I never recall my legs wanting to run back then the way they ached to walk.
Now I've certainly made a few missteps since getting to New York. I've put my foot in my mouth a couple times too. I'm now walking out my faith with an entirely new community that I'm still coming to know. I'm suddenly walking in the shoes of a true urbanite, as it were — being especially mindful of rain and clothing choices, how much I carry and to where; strolling through parks and coming upon occasional public performances; I'm starting to bump into people I know on the sidewalk and have interesting conversations. But more than anything, I have a foot in two different worlds. One in Michigan and the other in New York City. I feel the tension of that. In some small way I can relate to kids who have to split their time (and hearts) living in two different places both called “home.” While home in Michigan, I wondered what was happening in New York. When I'm home in New York, I long to know what is going on back in Michigan.
And, yet, here I am. Motivated by an ache, perhaps even the pangs of hearing a call to adventure, in August I took a giant step forward into the unknown. And despite how it hurts sometimes, it still feels good to walk.