More Wandering: ‘Good Enough,’ Silence & Stars?

August, here we are, in the middle place…

Wander your way to wonder

Shenandoah National Park

Our latest excursion to West Virginia and on to Virginia was a bit of wandering our way to wonder. Aside from our planned race, we didn’t have too many preconceived notions. Even the race, aside from what time it started, was a bit of an X factor.

I was thinking ahead to this trip when I suggested to Lowi we spend some time on the idea of wander. When I think about the word, what comes up first is that to be aimless, life needs to be a little calmer. And the last few years have seemed full of angst and stress, which are not the best contexts for meandering. When life feels uncertain, it’s hard to welcome more unknown variables, which wandering innately contains.

Lowi & G’s
Summer Reading List!

“The Giver of Stars” is a historical fiction novel based on the organization, The Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky, which Eleanor Roosevelt created in the mid-1930s.  These women traveled by horse to deliver books to the outskirts of their small, rural town of eastern Kentucky, often in terrible conditions and despite much resistance. 

The story of these five unlikely friends from completely different backgrounds inspires to say the least.  These women overcame seemingly insurmountable odds in a time when women really didn’t have that many rights.  Women were supposed to be at home raising families and not outside their homes distributing literature on horseback.

Sound of Silence

On the Old Rag Trail at Shenandoah National Park

Do you know what I love? Quiet. Solitude. I always knew this about myself. I often drive around during my day without the radio on. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or an audiobook if I am particularly enamored with it, but most often, I opt for nothing.

My inner world and voices tend to be loud, bordering on obnoxious, at times, so the last thing I want or need is more chatter.

For the last few weeks, we’ve had construction going on at our condo to repair an issue. Imagine stone being chiseled off the side of a chimney and crashing to the deck below or sometimes banging into your sliding glass doors. Hear in your mind incessant hammering, sawing, and pounding. Add onto that attempting to work, have a cohesive thought, or even feel like you can relax.

It’s Good Enough

I had an unusual experience at our last race a couple of weeks ago. We were participating in an 8-hour race in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The premise is you complete as many miles as possible in 8 hours on a 6-mile course. 

We have competed in timed events before, but a 6-mile course was the longest to date. The reason this matters is that a 6-mile loop is long enough that there is some considering whether you can make another loop around in the time remaining. And this is the circumstance we found ourselves in with about 2 hours to go. I know 6 miles in 2 hours seems incredibly doable. And it was at 6 am. By noon, the climbing and the heat were beginning to wear, and I wasn’t so sure I could do it. But more than that, I felt something I don’t know that I have ever experienced at a race. It felt good enough. I didn’t have the desire to wreck myself or leave it all out on the course, as they say. 

Before this race, John reminded me that this wasn’t my A race of the year or even my B race. He was right. It wasn’t, not even close. This race, if anything, was a challenging training run. We were going to continue after this race for a few days of much-needed vacation, and I just decided that I was good with ending at 6 hours. I didn’t need to grind it out, and for maybe the first time, I didn’t feel like I had something to prove.

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.

~ Alice Walker

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