Thank You, Long Distances

Today my friend and I walked a half marathon in celebration of you, Long Distances.  We came in last, lapped at the last by a runner who still wanted to win.

We laughed, crossing the finish line.

We were only in it for the miles. Only interested in going your distance.

And for us, it wasn’t really a finish line.  It was a celebration of all your cumulative length of hills and conversations we’ve shared for so many years.  It was, we decided, the opening ceremony to a new training season for even more of you, Long Distances.

We think at spring break we may see how far we can go by foot in six days.  120 miles?  150 miles?  Our respective high school seniors (who have grown up together since kindergarten, with their own long distance shared between them) have signed on to drive ahead, carry our lunches, respond to our first aid, set up tents, explore whatever nearby town, museum and ice cream shops are around before building a fire and warming a can of soup for their blister-footed mothers to hobble into nightly shelter.

And even after all that walking, you weren’t done with me, Long Distances.  Sitting down this evening between my love and I, you held our hands in both your hands, prompting my dear Fritz and I to talk together of our fears and hopes in that open-eyed, unguarded, face-to-face and heart-to-heart way that has taken us all your twenty-two years’ travel with us to begin to learn.

What would I do without you, Long Distances?

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