28 days of walking: day 19

columbia river gorgeI really could have used a walk this day. I felt that sticky, stifled feeling at the end of the day that comes from not doing the things I need to do to feel good. I sat in a car for 3 1/2 hours. I worked in a closed-in room with no windows for six hours. I ate badly. I had only a few moments alone.

But I am still including this day in my 28 days of walking, because I showed up. And ultimately, that is what I am practicing: showing up.

Several men at the prison asked me why I am visiting their program. When they asked on the first day, I said, “Because it sounds like fun!” and they all laughed and said, “Good answer!”

This particular day, however, I told them I wanted to be a part of what they are doing, and that I am interested in learning more about it. One said, “It means a lot that you are taking time out of your life to be here.”

I said, “I don’t see this as taking time out. This is what I do. I do theatre, and as part of that I am curious about how you are making theatre, and I am learning a lot from all of you. This is what I love to do.”

I showed up that day; and showing up, I continue to learn, is quite possibly the most important thing of all – more important than walking further than the 1/4 mile through the sparse and shiny hallways to the classroom (four times, so I did actually walk a mile, according to the guard who escorted me out that night), more important than blogging on the actual day I walked (you may have noticed that I’ve gotten behind in the writing part of this project – although I am still walking everyday), more important than just sticking with a plan. I was present.

The guard told me he walks a lot on this job. He told me that if you’re a people person, this is a good job. And he told me that someday he hopes to do “something more to help,” something more along the lines of the theatre program. He used to drive trucks across the country, making deliveries, and then he decided to take this job. He likes it, and he thinks the men in our group need this outlet. “They need to know they are human. Not many people have treated them that way,” he said, referring both to their lives prior to committing the crime that got them here, and to their time in prison.

I didn’t walk along the river outside our hotel that night, which I really wanted to do. I fell into bed, inspired but also exhausted from a day of showing up. Sometimes, I realized, that’s enough.columbia river gorge


1 thought on “28 days of walking: day 19

  1. Pingback: 28 days of walking: day 20 | mapping the terrain

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