Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Old Friend

My support "crew" at the 2012 Barkley (on the right)

My old friend. It has now been 11 years that you have been with me. 11 years that you have been my adventure partner; my chariot that has carried me to whatever destination that I asked of you. Always…without question.

In those early days that we shared, you took me away from a life in Cleveland that now seems so ancient and foreign to me. And then, for over 7 years you were there with me while I fumbled may way through graduate school.

We’ve been across the country together, traveled to state high points, national parks, wilderness areas, camp sites, and visited so many other incredible places; too many to count; too many to recall.

I can still remember the day that we took our first road trip together. I remember the day that we drove along the million dollar highway in Colorado, and I remember that day when we drove into the woods to have a campfire, after having finally defended my dissertation

I remember when we took a trip together to my very first trail race in 2008 up in Vermont…..and then the hundreds of races that followed.

I remember you crewing for me during my 2012 Barkley run. You kept everything so well organized for me during those chaotic and frenetic periods between loops.

You were always so good to my friends and family too, always giving them a comfortable place to sit and rest.

Most would probably not consider you an ideal place to sleep, but I certainly recall many a night that we spent together somewhere out there….me awkwardly, yet contently, resting in the back with the seats down.

You even waited patiently for me while I spent four months thru-hiking along a National Scenic Trail….twice. And then, you waited seven different times for me while I labored away in a cold and remote Antarctic wasteland. Always starting right up and ready to go on my first day back.

I know most would simply say you are just a car…a machine for the sole purpose of taking someone from point A, to point B. 

But to me….you have been so much more. You were there, during the most difficult time of my life, and then during the most magical. I suppose it's true that you have been an incredibly reliable vehicle…but you have always be so much more than that. You have been a part of my life for 11 years, and you will always be associated with some of my fondest memories.

And I will cherish those memories. 

This past weekend we took a drive together. We went up to Walden Pond and parked under a lovely tree. You brought me one last time to a beautiful place in the woods, so that I could once again experience the earthen trails beneath my feet. While I was hiking along that winding, soft, foot path, you took a well-deserved rest as the sun began to set over the pond. When I came back from my hike…you were just sitting in that shady spot under that tree. It looked peaceful. I thought of our wonderful 11-year journey together, and I smiled. 

So long my old friend, and thank you.......thank you for the incredible adventures.

At Walden Pond