Because we all need to come together in new ways, I’m starting a Sunday Burst of Strength, Solidarity and Support.
The heat brings out the worst in me.
The sweat, the discomfort and the constant unquenchable thirst break my walking stamina, the little I have left at this point. My bad mood is made worse with sudden menopause-related hot flashes that make my head burn even hotter in the baking sun.
I quit this walk a hundred times a day. Really. Every single day.
I have conversations in my head all the time about how much I hate what we are doing, how I want my Barcelona life back, how I was happier then.
More often than I should, I count off all the reasons I want to stop, and all the things that make me tired.
We trudge forward. Hours drag on.
Each step brings us to another curve leading to a long stretch of alpine nothingness. It’s just us alone in the world, heads down and walking different paces alongside the Panj River that sometimes meanders a few meters below or rages through narrow gorges.
There’s comfort in solitude. There’s unity between the human spirit and the natural world. There’s also a simultaneous sense of bigness and smallness, being a speck in the shadow of mountainous greatness while having a heart large enough to notice the smallest rock sparkling in the sunshine.
It’s easy to get lost in these long stretches in between Pamir towns. The monotony invites a meditative calm, a peace that comes with moving at about three kilometers an hour. It often, too, stirs restlessness and a string of unconnected thoughts anxious for answers or impatience from feeling like we are going nowhere fast.
This a different kind of post from me. It’s a slightly edited email note I recently wrote to a group of friends in San Francisco asking about our walk. After re-reading it, I decided it could also work here. It’s very much what’s on my mind these days.
I roll over on the bamboo poles serving as tonight’s mattress. Tired, aching muscles clench both sides of my shoulder blades, and my hips don’t quite fit in the small spaces between the tied poles. I can only wish for more sleep, but it’s a wasted wish. It’s 3:50 a.m., a few minutes before our alarms go off.
I take a rushed and restless breath, and on the exhale, a single thought floods my brain and body. Thinking about it will consume many hours of many days, and eventually it will become one of my personal carry-on-warrior mantras: What would love do?