Distance: 19,5 km
Speed: 5 kmph
So today was another easy day (mostly), and my first hike under 20 km – even my hiking app defines this distance as intermediate, and not expert (like all the others have been).
I spent much of the morning walking along a path close to the train tracks, watching the ICE (intercity express) trains whizz by between Amsterdam, Berlin and god knows where, and questioning my life choices. ;-p
One thing I was curious about (one of the many) before this trip was how it would be to “walk into autumn”. Basically to spend so much time outdoors while the seasons were changing. Would it be a different experience than when you only go outside briefly each day, mainly to get to other places? Would it feel less sudden?
So far I have to say there hasn’t been much of an autumn vibe going on, besides the abundance of pumpkins. Perhaps especially with the unusually warm and sunny days we’ve been having lately, it’s felt more like late summer than autumn. But today it has descended – again rather suddenly. Although I miss that particular autumn crispness on the air, the leaves are changing and falling, and storms are brewing.
Though 25 degrees and sun is a bit much for a 20-30 km hike with Voldie in tow, I am still thankful for the relative clemency of the weather so far. Tomorrow’s predicted 15 mm of rain is – let’s say – not ideal, but I guess also sort of expected when autumn announces its presence. And in Norway we have a saying: there is no bad weather, only bad clothes (in Norwegian it rhymes), so tomorrow it is time to rain suit up and knuckle down, just keep moving..
And speaking of knuckling down – though the additional rest day no doubt did me good, my right foot is not having a good time, and even after as little as 5 km it started acting up. I’ve had a little chat with it though (what, you don’t talk with your body parts?? ) and given it some massage, and just let it know that we’re almost there.
I don’t enjoy pain. I enjoy comfort. I do respect pain though. I listen to it. And I believe in most cases it has a point. If only to say “hey, slow down, take it a bit easier”.* I think we can push through almost anything, and we are much less limited than we often believe. But I don’t think we necessarily *should* push through everything. Pain is a warning sign from the body, and it’s important to recognise what that warning is. Part of loving – or even just respecting – your body is listening carefully and lovingly to what it is saying.
Try not to be disappointed in your body, or get angry with it. Think about all the amazing things your body can do, and has done – all the million little things it does automatically every day to keep you alive. When your body signals that it needs a break or it is in pain, talk to it like a friend, send it love, touch it gently, and just keep checking in and listening. Let your body know that you hear it. Let it know that you appreciate how far it has let you come, and ask it if maybe you can go just a little bit further.
Dear body, dear right foot, dear hips, knees, left foot for that matter, back, shoulders, brain… Thank you for letting me come this far. I love you, I respect you, and I am grateful for everything you do. Can we go just a little bit further? I promise, we’re almost there.
*I’m talking here about the kind of pain you might experience from doing a project like this, or pushing your body to perform in sports, not the kind of pain of chronic illness or disability which is an entirely different kettle of fish, and which I as a healthy, able-bodied person will not presume to know anything about.