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It’s been a minute. But don’t read anything into that.
Last Sunday, Abi and I took a long walk together. To the Osmanthus Trail at First Landing State Park. A trail she and I used to run while we trained for the Columbus Half Marathon.
It was the first time I've been there since she died.
The Osmanthus is one of those trails that, even on the first warm and beautiful day of Spring in Virginia Beach, you run into almost nobody. So it was only the two of us, mostly. And Bindi. And the wind in the trees and the occasional mud on the trail and Boy Scout Bridges and birds too happy to tune out and the sheen on the black water that reflects those trees back to you in colors you didn’t even know.
There are places where the trail splits for five or ten, or sometimes twenty yards. When we would run together, I would go left, and she to the right. But the trail would always converge, and we would come together. Often we would intentionally bump into one another when the trail converged. Laughing. Even at mile six. We would bump into one another, sweaty and tired. Sometimes she got annoyed because I sweat a lot, but I didn’t care. And she usually laughed anyway - that reluctant, why can’t you just let me be irritated laugh that many of you might know..
Oddly, she was there the strongest last week at the forks in the trail. Where they diverged, and then converged. We always bumped into one another again last Sunday. We still laughed, and she wasn’t irritated, this time. Maybe because we weren’t running, and because I wasn’t sweating. But maybe because she just wanted to talk. Ask some questions that didn’t make any sense at first.
Last Sunday, she always had something to say when the trails came back together. Always had a question.
This is what we talked about last Sunday.
Abi and I are going on a walk together. A long walk.
This summer, she and I will set off from somewhere in the southern part of Virginia, walk four hundred miles or so on the AT, and end up at Loft Mountain campground at Shenandoah National Park sometime between late June and the middle of July. It’s the fulfillment of an idea we sparked almost two years ago, when we sketched out a plan to walk parts of the AT together and to share our journey with those who were interested. We didn’t have a website then, but her values were already coming into focus, and this was to be our ultimate Love, Live, Dare, Make adventure. She reminded me of that on Sunday. Asked me how my daring was doing.
There's an overlook near Loft Mountain campground, where you can watch the sun come up over the mountains, and it's so lovely. We all watched the sun come up there together in October 2017.
And this summer, at the end of our hike, Marcia, John, Chris and V, Nate and Jackie, and I will gather again with Abi, early in the morning before the sun rises, to offer her ashes to the sun and the mountains. The mountains she loved. The place, especially in the last two years of her life, Abi believed was her home.
Well, this will be her forever home.
There is more coming. More about the planning and the training and the outfitting (simple and light! - thanks, Silvi!). More about the doing.
But for now, maybe this just a little reminder to listen more closely when someone asks you a question that doesn’t make any sense. There may be something really important there. Something full of loving and living and daring and making - just trying to reveal itself to you.
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