Sunday, August 19, 2012

Walking Memories

My hike is a month away, but I am already walking.  In a sense walking from my old life into an unknown new one.  And quite literally walking everywhere around this town I've called home for most of the last 25 years -- Washington, D.C.

Sunset over the Potomac River, from the Potomac Heritage Trail
I've always walked a lot.  D.C. is a good city to walk in, with ample paths, great scenery and traffic and parking logistics that make driving a real nightmare .   I bike here a lot, too.  When I worked in an office I biked to work.  Now that I'm preparing for my hike I take every opportunity to walk.  I go out of my way to walk.  I have a doctor's appointment 10 miles from my home tomorrow.  I will walk back.

All this walking gives me plenty of time to reflect on my time here.  Memories good and bad follow me everywhere.  My past echoes with each footfall.  I have a connection to that building, that street, that business.  Some memories are so distant I feel connected in fact only.  I know this place was part of my history I thought yesterday, standing in front of the home my ex-partner lived in when I met him.  But I have no feel for that place anymore.  Like a date inscribed on a tombstone it's just a cold memory scratched in my brain.

Other places are warmer, recent, familiar.  They still pull me in.  Some evoke smiles and laughter.  Yet there's still the sad sense of finality.  This part of my life -- the life I have known the longest -- is coming to an end.  The new part is not here yet and I feel caught between two worlds.  The old one passing and the new one not yet beginning.  Walking among shades of the past, I am a ghost among ghosts.

And all the while I keep walking.  Because walking is what I do now.

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