I should warn you, if you don’t want wallowing in self-absorbed introspection, skip down to the bottom.
So, I had an epiphanous moment today (my spellcheck doesn’t like epiphanous, but it seems like a word to me and you know what it means, anyway…). I had this moment while I was walking. I was about 7 miles into my 11.5 mile walk today. I had been waffling back and forth in my mind what to do tomorrow. On the one hand, I can continue walking the Clwyds, which I’ll talk about more in a minute, or I can go to Richard and Lena’s SCA event in Manchester. I was sitting there contemplating the down sides of each choice.
And it dawned on me that I needed to focus on the positives of each choice. I say it quite often that sometimes there’s no good decision. There are often times when the best decision is a bad decision, but it’s just less worse than the others.
But here I was with a different conundrum. I knew I faced a huge set of climbs, each with 60 plus meters of elevation in a short time, but I also knew I was on the downhill side and that I was feeling, not only not bad, but actually pretty good. Somewhat tired, but in all honesty, pretty damn good. I also knew that the Clwyds are beautiful, with the prototypical moorland scenery that we in the US only sort of envision. Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to do 12 miles, but…, by doing 11.5 today I’m over 91 miles total and with 1 day left to walk the 12 miles from Bodfari to Prestatyn, I was going to clear my new goal of over 100 miles total.
With the choice of going to the event, the factors basically boil down to the next time that I see Richard and Lena, and the fact that I won’t see them as Prince and Princess during their reign. Also, the chance to sort of hang out not in an anonymous setting, but in a setting where I’m the cool foreign Laurel again 🙂 OK, so yes, I do have an ego.
I realized as I was walking up the lane at the time that I was in a great position where I had no bad decisions. On the one hand, I knew I’d enjoy the Clwyds, but that I did not have a *need* to see the Jubilee Tower and the other sights on the way. If I did, great, it would be fun, but no great need. On the other hand, I knew I’d enjoy the event. If I didn’t go, I wouldn’t stress, but it would be cool. Neither choice has any real negatives other than the fact that I’m not doing the other, but both have fun inherent in them. All of the sudden, everything got relaxed.
And it was right at that moment that Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life came on the headphones. Yeah, it’s a secret vice, but I love that song. And it was sort of a rebirth of sorts in my mind. I’ve been asked by a bunch of people if I thought that Kate and I’s marriage was truly over, or if I thought there was hope, and my answer has always been, “ask her, it’s her choice that we’re not together.”
That *was* true.
Now, however, I’m healing and growing and it’s no longer true.
Don’t get me wrong, I still truly love Kate, but if she came back to me at Pennsic and asked for us to actually work on our marriage, I’m not necessarily going to say yes. I might, but, now, for the first time, I might not.
And this realization makes me feel reborn. For the first time in a long while I feel at least somewhat in control of my fate. The truth is that I’m a fairly laid-back guy. If I don’t have a definite preference, I am perfectly willing to adjust to a definite preference by my significant other. In fact, I like it when my significant other tells me their preferences so I have the opportunity to adjust. Kate sometimes feels uncomfortable and rude stating her preference. I get not wanting to be rude, but both partners need to have the opportunity to express a preference. Since I’m not all that worried about most things, I’m perfectly willing to accede to the vast majority of my partner’s preferences. With Holly, I didn’t know when to actually stand for my positions, but that wasn’t really a problem with Kate. The difference is that it bothered Kate that she would *have* to tell me her preference while I was *happy* when she did. That is one basic failure in our relationship, actually.
All of that is a long-winded way to say that I’m finally asserting control again. As I said, since I don’t get worked up about much, I tend to accede to my significant other and in fact get in the *habit* of acceding to that significant other. So I sort of get out of the habit of making choices.
Going to Wales was definitely a choice, but it was a choice in some ways of desperation. I certainly don’t regret it, nor do I regret getting a lesser vehicle in order to pay for this trip, but it was always a choice of desperation. It was a choice between wallowing in the status quo which would have been essentially deadly (and I’m not being hyperbolic), or finding some way to change the paradigm.
Walking Offa’s Dyke without any preparation and training was not wise. That lack of wisdom was exacerbated by rain, but Celtic Trails suggests a pretty significant period of training to get ready even if the weather had been perfect. I had none of that. I didn’t have a chance to break in my shoes. I never really studied the route, or thought of the inherent challenges. All in all, choosing Offa’s Dyke was fairly stupid.
But it changed my paradigm. It changed my way of thinking. It changed my body. It changed my attitude.
Kate asked me when I was thinking about this if anything closer, like the Katy Trail, would work. It’s possible, but I think unlikely, I would have been too close to the standard lifelines. Here, there are times that I *have* to swim or I sink. I cannot call a longtime friend to come help. Sometimes, I can call a cab, but while signal on these hills is better than one might think, it’s not perfect, nor is there much access in some places except by helicopter.
There was a point today on the heather that there was literally no one in sight, and I could see for at least a half mile in every direction. No noise but the birds and the sheep. There’s an isolation there that’s stunning.
I’m not healed, and I’m not exactly happy, and I’m not “over” Kate, but I’m so much farther along that it is difficult to describe. I’ll weep again, but I there will be times that I *don’t* weep again. So now, now for the first time in a while, I have been brought to life.
Alright, enough of the maudlininess (it was in a book, so it must be a word).
I’m sitting in a fantastic restaurant right now called On The Hill in Ruthin, Wales and they have a really good dark beer from a brewery here in North Wales called Bragdy Mws Piws. What, you don’t read the Welsh. Sigh, in English it means the “Purple Moose Brewery.” This beer is the O Ochr Tywyll Y Mws, or the Dark Side Of The Moose. I will not say that I’ve walked *all* of Wales, but I have walked from North to South and I’ve yet to see a moose, clad in a purple or otherwise. I’ve seen lots of sheep. By lots of sheep I mean LOTS of sheep. But no moose or meese. I guess I’m definitely going to have to come back and hunt the wily and elusive Welsh Purple Moose. Ooh, or maybe that’s the appropriate game for the Calontir Party.
There was another brilliant song during the walk. I’m walking in the moors on the west side of a hill and Stan Rogers and the Witch of the Westmoreland came on. I actually embarrassed myself by singing it out loud (twice actually), and on the second time a group of three 50-plus year old men blew past me not even breathing hard despite the fact they’d walked farther today than I had.
Screw them. I actually did great today. This was my best walk on the trip. Resting in Llangollen had benefits along with the downsides of not actually doing anything in that town. I did those 11.5 miles, some of which were very challenging, in less than 7 hours. Yes, parts of it were easy, but the long downhill in Llandegla forest was not, nor were the big rises, nor were the fields full of mud still. I’m sore, and the blister on the back of my left heel is still an issue, though part of that is that I took off the bandage and my Birkenstocks rub that spot. Still, I’m feeling good tired and good sore.
Well, that’s a true Rhodri-length post. I’ve missed stuff, as I’ve missed stuff all along, but that’ll do for now.