Five million steps. That’s what it takes to backpack the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin in Maine. I am reminded how much we take for granted the ability to take even one step.
I’ve been healing from a muscle pull in my left hip. Though better than it has been in over the past few days, at first it thwarted my ability to just get around the house. The first days consisted of bed rest, some gentle stretching, more bed rest, heat packs, ice packs, and pain killers. Then it was time to take a walk around the block — slowly. Since my convalescence at first meant I had to stay indoors, I felt extremely frustrated. The weather has been warm and dry and sunny; glorious days for getting out, and there I was cooped up inside. So the notion of a simple walk sparked my anticipation. Soon enough, I was able to venture further and walk to a local dog park where I enjoyed checking out the dogs and their antics.
I walked very, very slowly, but not due to the injury, but because I wanted to revel in each step. I paused and looked across the pond and marveled as the day was coming to a close. I took a deep breath and looked up into the sky to admire the high cirrus clouds and crescent of moon. Even the high altitude jets were a thing of beauty. There I was. Outside. Walking. Able. Moving. What joy! I walked further, stretching my muscles, bending over, sitting on a park bench to watch children at play. All these common acts, taken for granted, were suddenly gifts of common grace. It got me thinking about just how remarkable simple foot travel is, and how incredible it is for me — for anyone — to place one foot in front of the other and move from place to place, whether it’s along the Appalachian Trail, or simply around the block.
I walked home. Slowly. Reluctant to go back indoors, but feeling very blessed and thankful to engage in the simple act of taking a walk.