It was an abrupt interruption of a sound sleep when my alarm went off at 5:30 am today. I had worked hard at the farm for the weekend and my 56-year-old achy body wanted to stay in bed.
But that wasn’t the deal I had made with myself. This is the ninth day of a 40-day journey. Waking up before dawn and walking for an hour in the first light of the day. Rain or shine. Hot or cold. Sleepy or not.
This morning it was 31 degrees with the added bite of a 20 mph wind. I preferred last week’s weather. But a deal is a deal, so I willed myself out of bed, pulled on my fleece, my vest, my hat and my gloves and headed out the back door.
There is nothing magical about 40 days, but there is nice poetry to it. It rained on Noah for 40 days and 40 nights. Prophets wandered into the wilderness for 40 days to find clarity and inspiration. There are books about using a 40-day cycle to establish a new habit or create lasting change and we find ourselves in a season of change.
By the end of 40 days, we hope to be settled into our new home. Right now we live in a collection of boxes with a mattress on the floor. Things are coming together, but it doesn’t have to be done tomorrow. 40 days seems like a good target.
By the end of 40 days, I plan to be done with my next book. Lessons on the Road to Peace is the working title and it will chronicle our life on the road these last 2 years. The rough draft is finished (more or less) and every day after my walk and my journaling, I am sitting down to revisit and revise 8 pages of the book, which should get it ready for an editor by the end of these 40 days.
By the end of 40 days, we will enter a busy season of programming. We have some exciting engagements lined up for the summer and fall and it is by some combination of happy accident and intentional planning that this 40-day window has appeared. I intend to use it well.
By the end of 40 days I hope to feel rooted again. Our transition from life on the road to being domesticated again has been a blurry line. We stopped living on the road but still traveled for programming. We no longer lived in the van but we didn’t yet have our own place. We house-sat for a week or a month at a time. Now we have rented this townhome and soon it will be home.
Some things take time.
I didn’t want to go on my walk this morning, but I did it. I can’t say I loved the process, but it did give me some satisfaction to meet my own expectations. I did witness moments of beauty that I would have missed by staying in bed. My creaky joints began to stretch out. I saw a couple other brave souls on the trail and we chuckled about the wild swings in the weather. It’s surprising how a few days can bring such a big change. It’s surprising how this happens every spring. And it’s surprising that it surprises us every time.