Forty Days

Forty days is a long time. And it goes by quickly.

On Easter morning I set out to walk through the sunrise every morning for forty days in an effort to get reconnected to this place. To get used to life off the road. And to get a good start on our next book and exhibit.

Mission accomplished on all fronts. I finished those forty days last week and then gave myself a little break. In fact, I was nursing some blisters that developed on one particularly long and rainy walk and my feet welcomed the chance to finally heal fully. But this morning I was back at it. I missed those walks.

I’m not sure I came away with any profound revelations from my forty day journey, but I definitely introduced a new rhythm into my life that feels rewarding and worthy of my time.

The walks and journaling afterward took up an hour or two each day, but somehow, I didn’t feel like I had any less time. The process of reflection and ritual helped me be more productive with the work hours that followed.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken the chance to watch springtime unfold in such a close and intimate way. I welcomed the wonder of observing the landscape shift from white to gray to green. I loved noticing the first buds appear on the trees and hearing the chorus of frogs celebrate the end of their dormant season.

There was less than a week between my last walk and this one today, but I had missed so much. Suddenly the trees were fully leafed out. The geese had hatched their goslings. The meadow grassess seemed to have grown a foot taller in my absence. 

Paying close attention to the natural world has been a good parallel to paying close attention to our social world. This slower pace has offered time to process and reflect on the journey we’ve been on these last two and a half years. It has given me time to revisit my journal entries and transcribe interviews and draft passages that just weren’t possible in the busy logistics of life on the road.

We are working on the second round of revisions for our new exhibit, Lessons on the Road to Peace. It should print in the next month or so. I am organizing an enormous gallery of photos that will be part of our new book. That should be out in the fall as well. Stand by for updates.

Some mornings, these walks have felt daunting. But one step at a time, they moved me along the path. Some days, the process of writing this new book feels overwhelming, but one page at a time, it is coming together. And some days the problems of this world feel bigger than the solutions we bring to the table. But one day at a time, one story at a time, one person at a time, we will find our way forward. Together.

5 thoughts on “Forty Days

  1. Appreciate your reflections in this transition–to listen, notice, wonder,…and just be. Looking forward to your next book!

    1. Thanks Deb. Working hard on that book! I’ll keep y’all updated as we start tp understand the timing a little better. Have a great weekend.

  2. Hello.
    What an inspiring post! Walking through sunrise for 40 days sounds like an incredible journey, and the way you describe seeing the natural world change throughout the process is captivating. I’m curious, did you find that the act of walking every morning helped you get reconnected to the place you were in more quickly compared to not walking?
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the note…it’s hard to know for sure, but I’m reasonably certain this gave me quicker path to settling in here than if I hadn’t done it. As a bonus, it helped clear my morning fog and set a nice rhythm for writing the rest of the day.

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