Sunday, August 15, 2010
Day at the Office
Zac starts his day just like everyone else. He wakes up and goes over in his head what he must accomplish this day. He thinks about what he needs to do to be successful. He tries to plan his day out and line up step by step what must take place to reach the end of the day. Most of us do this before we get out of the bed. Same with Zac. When he crawls out of his sleeping bag he must prepare some breakfast that will give him enough energy that will get him through to lunch some 6 hours and 15 miles away. He must then break camp and pack his backpack in a way that he has done since he started his trek back in mid April. Only now he has learned a few tricks that will make the weight seem less on his shoulders, back, and hips. Maybe he puts a water bottle in a different place or his tent a little lower in the pack. Through trial and error he perfects his packing style. By now it is second nature to him and he packs his gear away without thinking twice. He starts to work before the sun comes up just like most of us do. He does have to worry about traffic, but a fallen tree over the trail or a rattlesnake or bear who has the right of way may slow him down. We all have goals and deadlines we try to meet at work. His goal might be 9 before 9 which means 9 miles before nine O'clock or to reach a certain pass before the sun gets up too high in the sky. As the day stretches on he begins to hear and feel the dinner bell ringing in his belly. Like us he may start to feel it an hour before he wanted to so he walks on just like we work on keeping an eye on the clock. When he reaches a good spot he stops for lunch and lays his pack down for the first time since the morning. The weight off his back makes him feel light as a feather. The coolness on his back feels good as the breeze blows against his sweat drenched shirt that is seeing the light of day for the first time. His break room has beautiful vistas with endless skies that are blue and clear. The sound of co-workers chattering away are replaced by birds, wind and maybe if he is lucky, a babbling steam. After lunch it is back to work. He will walk and walk occasionally stopping to look over his trail book that has become his bible so to speak. It tells him what creeks he will cross and if the water is good or not. It lets him know the elevation and grade of the trail. He relies on it to get him through the wilderness like we might look at diagrams and procedure guides to get through our day at work. When the day is done, just like everyone else he feels satisfied knowing he has reached his goal for the day and can rest at home. Zac's home is made of nylon and has a 4 foot tent pole in the center. His Lazy Boy recliner is a good rock with a smooth surface. His wide screen TV is a nice little fire just big enough to cook on and keep him company. By the time he falls asleep, his friends and family back east have all been sleeping soundly for a few hours. The stars are his nightlight and the ground his mattress. During the night, nature happens all around him. God only knows what sounds he hears in the bushes that would leave most people rattled and wide awake for a hours. (including myself) The sounds like breaking twigs, screeches in the middle of the night, splashes in a nearby creek, bugs humming all around are probably like a sweet lullaby to him by now. I imagine he rest easy knowing that he is accomplishing one of his life's dreams and over coming unbelievable obstacles. I am sure that as he drifts off he reflects on the day and the day to come. To him this is not a day at work at all. He also takes great comfort in knowing the has support from family and friends as well. We have talked about it before that he is never alone on the trail. He has many people who are walking with him in spirit every step of the way. Every mail drop is like Christmas to him. In my mind I can see him sitting on the Post Office steps with the sun beaming down on his smiling face reading letters and eating homemade brownies, Slim Jims and Power Bars. (hopefully not all at once) Thank you all again for sending all your letters, prayers and words of encouragement. Yeah, I miss him.