"I'm a slow walker, but I never walk back." - Abraham Lincoln
"She (my mother) seemed to come at me know, the full perfect and imperfect force of her humanity, as if her life was an intricately painted mural and I could finally see the whole thing. Who she'd been to me and who she hadn't. How it was she belonged to me profoundly, and also how she didn't."
Nonetheless, it was a great adventure and I, true to character, found quotes that took greater meaning and form as I read. Like the difference between conceptualizing and really doing something hard.
There were lots of preposterous details for me as a reader, such as an author changing her surname. Cheryl Strayed. Strayed? Granted, this is something possible in America, but nearly impossible and unthinkable in Spain, as it would certainly alter the following of lineage, history and efficiency as recorded in the centuries old Book of the Family, the official registry in Madrid, where my own name can finally be found.
Regardless, Cheryl made me think constantly about her travel, but honestly, mostly her hurting feet (her too tight boots, her swollen toes, blackened and then lost toenails, blisters and more).
And though I vacillated with liking and identifying with her as a protagonist, I couldn't help live out her moments
and in particular, mourn her mother's death,
"I was twenty-two, the same age she was when she'd been pregnant with me. She was going to leave my life at the same moment that I came into hers, I thought"
share in her grief over the following years,
understand her need to escape,
"The thing about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer - and yet also, like most things, so very simple - was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. "
acknowledging the disadvantages and advantages of growing up poor, and knowing how to make do with less (the entirety of page 280 is great,)
and of course, reading to champion her along every step of her 1100+ mile journey.
"But, no one laughed. No one would. The universe, I'd learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back. I really did have only one boot."
Finally, it was shear magic to share her awe of Crater Lake right after Enrique and I just got to see that amazing spectacle of nature earlier this month.
"This was once Mazama, I kept reminding myself. This was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had its heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But hard as I tried, i couldn't see them in my mind's eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. They simply were not there anymore. There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began."
Here's to life and living in an exuberant way the most important things; understanding the brevity of life in general and learning the greatness of love.
My own challenge? I hope I learn to love God and others wildly and with abandon the days and adventures that are left me. Anyone else?