A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #6
Greetings! Today I was blest with another person who wanted to join me along the journey for a while. I think that five different people have now walked with me for a total of 45-50 miles or so. We certainly come into the world with a need for other people to share life’s journey with us. For whatever reason(s), this need for connection does not appear to develop into the same level of strength or intensity for everyone (i.e., extraversion vs. introversion, togetherness vs. solitude, etc.); but what has captured my attention in the reflection of sharing the journey with others is that, generally speaking, no one person makes the entire journey with us—from start in finish in life. (I so understand that there are exceptions to my impression as when one faces the death of a child.)
And the nature of our relationships with people change on the journey as well… such as leaving a home of parents and siblings and extended family, developing friendships (sometimes of people who come and go in our lives), meeting a spouse, changing coworkers, moving into different neighborhoods, etc. Some we make choices about and some were given to us as gifts and, perhaps, some just seem to show up. Just think of the people who entered (for whatever reason) and departed (for whatever reason) your story over the years. The thoughts and emotions of memories keep some of them with us in various ways… but they don’t make the entire physical journey with us.
Sometimes we feel close to some but they live miles away. Perhaps what I am wrestling with is that there is a quality to our lives of being alone at times on the journey—something that we cannot escape. I think that it was Anne Morrow Lindbergh who wrote something along the lines of “In the final analysis, we are all ultimately alone.” (Perhaps it is in knowing that we will all someday let go of this earthy life that highlights her words for me.) Wow… what an existential thought that is. Perhaps this is why the spiritual connection with the Holy One and with people in our lives is so very, very important. Not sure where I am going with all of this… these reflections are a work in progress. But I feel a sense of gratitude for those who have made, are making, and will make life’s journey with me. No one person has been there every step of the way on the journey… and physical distance and ultimately death do not have to change what is in our hearts. Perhaps gratitude for those who have shared my journey is the best place to leave this today.
Did you know that Henry C. Osterman was the field secretary of the Lincoln Highway Association in 1920 when he was killed instantly in an automobile accident on the LH just east of Montour, a place I walked by today? On his way to a meeting in Marshalltown, he was driving a 1918 Packard making his 11th round trip over the highway when, around 4 am on June 8th, he miscalculated passing a slower moving Model T and slipped on the wet grass overturning his car. He had worked with the Association for several years to make the transcontinental highway a success… and, perhaps what catches my attention about this story, is that he gave his life for something that he had given his life to.
Today I met a lot of geese as I walked through some wetlands east of Tama in the Iowa River lowlands. They were very noisy with their comings and goings… and I was moved to smile at how they have such a wonderful, protected home. I contemplated how we might be able to get all of those geese in the ponds of insurance companies out west of Des Moines to come here amidst the plenty and the beauty—definitely a great place for geese to raise a family… the wetlands, I mean, and not WDM.
Today I learned that ankles are amazing! Actually, I have been more aware and more impressed just how well my ankles have served me. By the time this pilgrimage is over, I will have taken well over one half million steps… and I am guessing that over half of those steps were on uneven ground. The walking stick helps a little to keep pressure off the ankles, but they have been adjusting very well to the uncertainties of where my feet step each time.
Today I am grateful for my friend, Arlen Daleske, who walked a total of 20 miles with me from east of Tama to my home in Marshalltown. We were childhood friends, played high school sports together, went to college together, and even today still try to play golf once a week… always walking on the course, of course. We had opportunity to chat about so many aspects of our lives… it was great! He simply wanted to be of support and encouragement on my journey across the state… and, indeed, he was! He’s one that has made quite a bit of my journey with me. Thank you, Arlen!
P.S. My gratitude marble landed in Linn Creek today as I was walking across the 3rd Avenue bridge in Marshalltown. I was grateful to be back home for the night!
For more information and more posts, please see Mark’s homepage: dmpcc.org/WalkwithMark
Everyone is invited to “Walk with Mark” by helping him reach his goal to support quality mental health services for boys and men. Supporting his 331-mile trek is easy as 1-2-3:
- Walk with Mark via his blog on the Center’s website or Facebook page.
- Walk with Mark by joining him for part of his itinerary.
- Walk with Mark with a donation to the Center for the counseling assistance fund.