“…and remember, the truth that once was spoken, “To love another person is to see the face of God”.
Today, marks our two year wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a 30 minute phone call.
Most of our conversations of late, have lasted an average of 2 minutes and 58 seconds. He is usually in some impossible place where the signal dies or he has not had a chance to charge the phone in days.
In the background a waitress with heavy heels took the order of a truck driver with a Boston accent. I could hear her as she walked away at high speed to put the order in. Customers shuffled in and out of the door in steady succession punctuated by the cadence of the bell that must have been hanging above the door. I heard all of this, as my husband and I reminisced about our wedding day.
In a voice teeming with what I have learned over the years is a simultaneous mixture of pride and awe he normally reserves for court cases he has won, I listen as my husband calls each memory forth, word after delicious word. “Remember how special our foot washing ceremony was? I was afraid I would fall off the stage as I washed your feet”? Or, “That Worship band had atheists singing about Jesus. Man, that was awesome!”.
I only stop him when he says we should do it again soon. Has he lost his mind? Doesn’t he remember how much work that it was to try to plan for 1,000 folks? We laugh together as I only half jokingly ask him to admonish the very thought of it. Now that I think about it, I would really love to do it again. I know I am crazy right along with him, and we are a perfect pair.
These are the moments I miss. The moments where we just share life with one another. Where I get to share my heart with my husband and he shares his with me. No agenda. No deadlines. No interruptions. This is something I believe we will never take for granted again. He began walking at 6AM at a fast pace just to be able to talk to me today!
He has been hiking the Appalachian Trail since March 14, 2012 and although I have visited him a few times during the over 1, 500 miles he has already walked, it is never enough. He has hiked through the deaths of both my 26-year-old sister, and my Aunt. He has missed births and birthdays, weddings and graduations. He will not get that time back nor will we have the opportunity to replace these moments. But, he walks with determination, purpose, and my 100% support. He has survived and pressed on where most have given up and gone home. Always in the forefront of his mind are the Miners who cannot drink their tap water at home. And, the people who’s families have owned their land for centuries who are suddenly dying of cancer from the coal dust they breathe. His goal is to raise awareness about the evils of Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining and to gain support for the people of Appalachia.
There have been times he has wanted to give up and come home. Fatigue. Pain. Hunger. Weariness. Loneliness. Broken equipment. Crazy people. All worthy opponents. But, he continues on with a purpose and quickly talks himself into pushing forward.
I have not written on his behalf in a while, and I must apologize to you faithful readers.. Recovering from the shock of my sister’s death has been more difficult then I could ever have imagined. I thank you all for your patience and continued interest. And, thank you for following his adventures on Facebook in the absence of my updates.
Christian has flip-flopped. He made it to New York and decided that he did not want to take chances on unpredictable weather in Maine. Baxter State Park is not a year round park and he was afraid that he would miss the deadline and never make it to Mt. Katahdin before it closed. So, with the help of our friends Ian and Liz, he caught a bus from New York to Maine. He is now in the process of walking back to New York where he left off which will complete his 2,200 hike of the Appalachian Trail. He plans to finish sometime at the end of October or early November.
He journals daily and I will share one of his latest entries with you now:
8/8/2012 11:05 PM
What a day, but to say that implies that there’s any other kind of day in my life right now. I didn’t get as far as I wanted to. As I was following the trail I didn’t see any signs or blazes, which isn’t unusual but, it looked and felt like the trail. When I got to the top of the mountain it just stopped.
Now, I feel fine and I’m doing well, but the lack of sleep last night is having an effect on me, my coordination isn’t there and I’m in my head more. Not ideal conditions for climbing. I am starting to really know what my limits are and what is healthy for me. I decide to set up camp because going any further could be dangerous and foolish. I really want to make it to see Ian and Liz but, this may set me back.
I just found out that my pack is in need of a serious repair. If it blows out I am stuck. I cannot hike without a working pack. It is my survival. A couple of weeks ago as I was putting it on, it seemed like the waist-belt was looser. I tried to figure it out, but couldn’t. I checked on a replacement at an outfitter but they were no help. It has gotten bad enough that I can clearly see the problem and my pack is not long for this world without a major repair.
I am so tired right now, I need to stop writing. My sleep deprivation is catching up with me. Tomorrow, I will cross the New York line. Hard to believe I have walked from Georgia to this point.
Oh, before I forget again, I saw three more bears which brings my total up to 19. I was hiking and up ahead some day hikers were making noise and I asked them why. When I got to where they were, a mother and two cubs were the answer. It has become so common that most thru-hikers don’t react. As long as I don’t have to fight them over my food again, live and let live. Never thought I’d become indifferent to seeing bears in my daily life.
We have decided to place all of our fundraising efforts now, towards Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. We did not raise all of the funds needed for Christian’s trip but, he has spent very frugally and we trust that we should be able to handle his expenses. We ask that you now donate to the organization that Christian began this walk for in the first place, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Please visit out Razoo Page to make a donation, at: http://www.razoo.com/story/Appalachian-Voyage
To date we have raised $250. Our goal is $5,000.