Following the movie, I went to the bookstore to browse.
But this entry is not about those things.
It is about freedom.
On my way back home, I felt a familiar itch. My feet were unhappy, restless. Maybe it was talking to singingwren about tomorrow's hike. Maybe it was something else. I'll never know.
But my boots won out.
I made a crazy left turn off Henderson Rd. and into the neighborhood between High Street and the Olentangy River. I drove down and in front of a random house, parked the car, and jumped out.
Down the hill I went.
I crossed the Olentangy River on the Henderson Rd. bridge, near 315. I stepped off the bridge and onto the bike trail. Antrum Lake was my goal, but the setting sun didn't look promising. It was 8:30 already, and I was running on fumes.
I set off down the path, breathing in wildly. 'That scent,' I thought. 'That scent is clean.' That scent is the mixture of dirt and water that makes mud. Happy, deep river mud. It filled my lungs and gave my legs fuel.
I plunged into the hike with fast feet, singing along to the music in my head. "Who wouldn't want to be me?" I questioned. "Jimmy, there's still so much to be done," I reasoned.
I looked at my boots. No chance to get them more dirty today, it's been too dry. Look at them, though: the sole is separated, the inserts squeek. It's really true: the truest measure of a man is how long his boots last. Never trust a man with clean boots. A man's boots will keep him when he's down and out, and they'll always be there for him. My boots, ladies, always win.
I jumped up on a fence and walked along it for a while, laughing and smiling and my arms extended as if I were flying. I repeated some of the same phrases you see in this entry to myself, edited them aloud, and spoke them again.
I looked forward as I passed Bethel Rd. I was doing alright on sunlight for now, but that wouldn't last long. I kept walking.
I smiled at every person I met, watched a beautiful woman try an control her rollerblades with little success, and laughed at a kid chasing fireflies. I jumped on another fence and nearly fell into the creek below when I missed a step. I laughed with the young couple who came up behind me.
Finally, I turned a bend and came to the point I had to turn back. It was becoming darker, and if I didn't turn back now, most of my walk would be in the dark.
Something changes in you when you decide that the hike is over. A sort of mild depression sets in, and you start to drag your feet. You become cautious and wary of your surroundings.
I still jumped on the fences, I still caught fireflies, and I still sang songs, but it was sadder than my approach was. I wanted to keep going.
My soul is most free when my sole is on the ground.
But that brief moment of freedom was everything I wanted.
And when I came home, I thought I should share it with you.