Day Ninety Eight: 1834.1 – 1856.2km

What kind of story am I writing?

When people read the pages of my life, and the chapter titled ‘Her Journey Along the Pacific Crest Trail’ in particular, will they scoff at how long it took me to complete? That it wasn’t a direct Mexico to Canada journey? Will they think it less of a feat if I leave and come back?

Possibly.

Probably.

There will always be those who critique. There will always be ‘purists’ who believe a flip flop is not a thru hike. There will always be people who turn up their noses because I didn’t take this ‘seriously enough’, had far too low of an average mileage, took too many zeroes.

But…

Am I writing this story for them?

Am I hiking this trail for them?

Am I living in response to their opinions?

No.

I’m living it for myself. For my family. For my friends. For the strangers who might one day flick through the pages and be inspired. For anyone with the seed of a dream within them, still building up the courage to take a leap of faith.

I want to leave a legacy of drinking deeply from the cup that is before me, and savouring every drop.

I want to be known as a woman who walks in joy and in faith: that my feet lead me to and through my destiny, leaving a trail of lives fuller because our paths crossed.

I want to be known as a woman who takes her time: time to listen to people’s stories, time to pick berries and watch butterflies, time to let each moment soak deep down into my bones.

I want to be known as a woman who dreams outrageous dreams, and then chases them down with joyful abandon and a disregard for the pressure of society to fit in a box or fulfil their expectations.

I want to be known as a woman who remembers people’s names. Every person I meet is more valuable and more important than every mile I complete.

I want to remember that this legacy is why I’m here. It’s not for every footprint I leave on trail, but for every imprint I leave upon hearts – both now, and the ones waiting for me in the future.

Have you seen La La Land?

It’s one of my favourites.

One of the songs from the musical is one that rings true for me. I’ve had it on repeat too many times to count. Mia, the main character, tells a story about her aunt through this song, and it’s the kind of story I hope my nieces and nephews will tell of me one day. Well, all except the part about living in liquor.

The rest of it, though, is a story I would be proud to call mine:

The Fools Who Dream

My aunt used to live in Paris
I remember, she used to come home and tell us these stories about being abroad
And I remember she told us that she jumped into the river once, barefoot

She smiled

Leapt, without looking
And tumbled into the Seine
The water was freezing
She spent a month sneezing
But said she would do it again

Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make

She captured a feeling
Sky with no ceiling
The sunset inside a frame

She lived in her liquor
And died with a flicker

I’ll always remember the flame

Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make

She told me
“A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us”

So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays

And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make

I trace it all back to then
Her, and the snow, and the Seine
Smiling through it
She said she’d do it again

A Thought of Your Own?

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