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Why am i still posting words? I could (and this is not a slight…read it as self deprecation) be posting gif’s(?) or abstract photos of ethereal things. Images that could evoke a whole story- a general yet personalized emotion- in a fraction of the time it takes to read…this.

For me it would be that words still do imply a specificity. It’s perhaps a specificity that is not for everyone. Flashed image is beautiful and visceral but it allows for (often) broad interpretation. Images are already “there”. That’s why photographers “capture” images. They are already there for people to see- they just need to be frozen.

Words have to be wrung out from the inside. No one knows those thoughts exist until they have been cogitated over and put down. Unfortunately, words take time. No one has that commodity… at least not here. Not in NYC. Not on the internet.

I need some help…

Not sure if any of my legion of 22 followers still glances at this but…

would you be willing to explain your religion- what it means to you- in 1,000 words or less then submit it to me?

I’m trying to find as many different religious viewpoints- from Atheist to Zionist-  and spiritual perspectives as possible. However, in order to get to the crux of what you believe, i would like you to boil it down to 1,000 words or less. I know that’s a tall order.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Just send it to me here under “ask me anything”

w.

It’s not the mountain that gets you…

…it’s the pebble in your shoe.

Not sure who said that but it is absolutely true. It has a couple of meanings for me. Partly it means that we get so focused the the big obstacle or the end result that we forget the tiny details that make or break us.

Also, to me it says that the road is long and challenging enough without us keeping a stiff upper lip and bearing some burden in order to prove something to ourselves. Take the pebble out when it is first felt. No need to grin and bear it. That little thing you carry around that is simply inconvenient at first, can turn your sole into a ragged mess in just a few miles more.

It is not our responsibility to suffer yet many think that is so. Walking a long road will provide plenty of opportunity to show your strength and courage. No need to pile on to show you’re worthy. Before i started my walk i actually considered wearing wrist and ankle weights. The thought being that i could get in even better shape. What a ridiculous notion. It would have ended my trip before it began. As it was, i wound up giving away 5lbs. of food and a pair of boots because of their weight. After that i learned very quickly what is necessary, what is wanted and what is just frivolity.

Enjoy comfort where you find it, seek it out if you can- but don’t let the quest for comfort take you off your path.

An important message…

sort of.

My phone caught a virus and it deleted all my contact info. Being relatively young, i didn’t have the foresight to actually write any down and haven’t memorized anyone’s phone number except for my parents. If anyone actually reads this blog and has my phone number… please text or message me with your number and name. Even if I don’t really know you and you would some day like to exchange texts or (more quaintly) a conversation, let me know.

thanks,

w.

seeing things differently

As I was traveling the easy way (via car) to my sister’s house i was struck by how different the world looks now. The most obvious is that the trip took 40 minutes instead of almost two days. More subtlely though was the quiet, internal dialogue of what i’d often taken for granted: The width of the shoulders or their slope. How pleasant and difficult it would feel to walk these country roads. Even though I’d made the trip dozens of times to her house to see my nieces or work with her husband on building race cars, I’d never noticed (or perhaps appreciated) the few small, mom and pop motels. These were exactly the kinds of places I’d stay after a long day walking. While I still thank Ashley for giving me a discount that allowed me to stay at the Hyatt Regency in Cincinatti- if you want a truly rich travel experience- stay at the mom and pop places. They have a personality and charm that cannot be duplicated.

I also noticed a few fruit stands decked out for the fall. Walking through towns and often only eating food from a can or greasy biker bar for days; it was an unbeleivable treat to find a place to get fresh picked fruit or veggies.

Most of all it was the quiet and sometimes not seeing another person for hours, or, unless they were flying by in a car, a couple days. Hearing nothing but gravel crunching or ciccadas before it got too cool. Sometimes it was just wind, scolding crows and the rustle of dry corn husks. Soon it’s back to NYC with it’s million breaths a second, cars playing the horn and a subway rythym section.

It’s nice to know i can live anywhere and in anytime.

Anonymous

Anonymous asked:

Are you still walking and where are you?

Unfortunately i had to stop the walk sooner than i had hoped. In spite of the generosity of many kind people, my diminishing bank account would not permit me to continue…at this time. We will see what the future holds but i would like to continue on and finish this journey at some point in the future.

Right now i’m visiting with family in Upstate NY for a bit before heading back to NYC to continue my work in the field of autism and hopefully in a greater role with the dedicated folks at SNACK.

This will not be the last

So this road ends and some other path starts. I’m re-entering a life that I may have outgrown and wonder how I will handle it. Will it be like a snake trying to crawl back into discarded skin or will this new shape fill in the gaps that were present in this life before? There will certainly be a greater appreciation to be in my own space, cook my meals the way I choose and know where I will sleep each night.

I’m also aware of what I’m giving up.

I had the privilege of meeting new and remarkable people nearly every single day. Strangers would approach me and talk to me openly about fear and loss, redemption, glory and unbelievable joys. Back in Brooklyn, my roommate almost never speaks to me voluntarily. I’m only a few miles from friends I rarely see. On the road, time was measured in distance between towns and the level of pain in my body. Back home it is measured by the occurrence of weekends.

Also (and this, I’m ashamed to say, is based on ego which I have not yet managed to destroy) on the road, nearly everyone I’d meet would give me praise for what I was doing. Strangers would give me hugs, hold my hand and pray for me. I’m returning to a job that, at least when I left, was increasing demands and diminishing support- dismissive secretaries and staffed by condescension.

The hidden sadness of NYC is that there are millions of people who are so different from myself in every way- with greatness in each of them that I will never know- each in their own crevasse that they’ve chiseled out for themselves. Some live behind a facade of anger. Others distance themselves by miles of irony.

Before this trip I was considered by many to be a bit of a loner and at times somewhat stand-offish. It’s true that I kept to myself but it wasn’t because I disliked people. It’s because I love them so much that I can’t bear being rejected by them- by sarcasm and subtle, sideways glances. I’ve never been more myself than when I was out there- on the road. I met bikers and ex-cons and ministers. I met farmers and veterans of wars people never considered great. I met grizzled coal miners and so many other remarkable, hard working folks that would be dismissed in the Big Apple because of the teeth in their head rather than the thoughts residing there. I got along well with every one of them.

I’m going to miss that connection.

I was often asked why I chose to do this walk and the obvious answer is to raise money and awareness for SNACK. That is true.

But there is a much greater truth:

You and everyone you know is going to die.

I’m going to. I became acutely aware of that on April 1st of this year.

Knowing that in the most stark and real way possible- what do you do now?

I started looking for something many years ago when I was no more than 12. i will spare the details of why I began looking for something at that age (you’ll have to wait for the book ;) That search has led me to read much of the bible and Talmud. I’ve poured over the Upanishads and read and re-read Buddhist texts. I even got most of the way through the Koran. This search is what got me moving on this 1,000 mile journey. At some point during this trip I realized that reading all those books is exactly the same as reading a road map vs. walking the road.

There is greatness everywhere and in everyone. It’s inside me. If you don’t seek out that greatness- if you don’t live each day on your terms and do what brings you fulfillment and joy- if you don’t do that this very day; what in the name of god are you waiting for?

“This” can be taken away at any moment.
i saw thousands of dead butterflies on the side of the road.

We might not do “this” again.

I very much want to finish the trip I started- to walk all the way to the west coast. I can only assume the challenge would increase as well as the proportion of the reward found.

Sometimes i think that the whole of life is lived for the last few moments if you’re fortunate enough to see the end coming. Reflecting on a lifetime lived and wondering what comes next it would be my worst fear to think that I could have done, should have done…more. What i do know that at my end I will never think “damn, I should have stayed at work instead of walking 1,000 miles in the hope of helping others.”

What is next I wonder?

First, some thanks

I will post a bit more in a day or so but right now I need a little time to digest the fact that this trip has come to…an end? A temporary hiatus? We’ll see. But again, more on that later.

On my last leg of the trip I got to go through a beautiful little town called Lebanon, Illinois. The first person I got to meet was Patty from the Lions Club. While I was eating the delicious bratwurst she gave me, Donna approached and made a donation towards the walk. It just kept getting better from there. Dan, his wife Ada and daughter Teresa introduced me to just about everyone in town. Moreover, everyone in this town was fascinating, inquisitive and kind. I got to meet the future mayor of Lebanon, Conrad and his wife Margaret. Remarkable people! I also got to meet Gary who also gave me breakfast the following morning on my walk. Dan and Margaret brought me to their home and fed me the most delicious pumpkin soup. Their son Thomas gave up up his bed so that i could sleep. Thank you Thomas.

After dinner the family took me to Dr. Jazz, the oldest soda shop in the United States. The ice cream was phenomenal! I met the owner Paul and his son who I believe his name was Kenny…I’m sorry I forgot. I met so many great people that day.

This entire trip, from start to finish, was the best experience I could possibly imagine. I did not meet a single person along this journey that didn’t inspire me in some way. Watching the news, you’d think the country was only populated by psychopaths. Not so.

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