Friday, June 5, 2009
Guest Blogger: Jen Johnson and the long walk.
Hi all, it's Jen. I've invaded Chris's blog. I get to make a guest appearance to tell you about my "long walk." The idea for the long walk started to develop in early February. I was at a retreat in the mountains with some of the college students that I teach when I got the idea of doing a 100 mile walking meditation over 5 days in preparation for parenthood. I thought this was the GREATEST idea ever!
As most of you know, I'm naturally kind of a "do-er" so I don't leave much time in my life for reflection, and reflection seems like a kind of important thing to do prior to a huge life change like having a munchkin. As I shared this idea with other folks, I was SHOCKED that they didn't think it was as awesome as I did. My well-intentioned colleagues were concerned that I'd go into labor from walking so much or get abducted (even though they think I'm borderline crazy 90% of the time, these are perhaps the most loving coworkers a person could ask for). They insisted that I take the office cell phone "just in case." I complied.
Believe it or not, the big walk evolved into something a little smaller over time (as is usually the case with "Jen Johnson 'hairbrained ideas'"), but turned out to be awesome.
So, as you can imagine, our life has been pretty busy lately. School just ended in mid-May and we are swamped with commitments until then. Meanwhile, we (and when I say "we" I really mean "I") had quite the pre-baby "to do" list. Time just kept slipping away until the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and I hadn't planned (let alone executed) the big walk. If it was going to happen, this was the weekend.
The walk ended up being a 2-day, 30 mile trek, mostly on trail. I stayed overnight at our friend Mark Benn's house (thanks Mark!), who has a stunning place with a beautiful view of Horsetooth Reservoir just west of Fort Collins. I got to walk on the Blue Sky Trail, through Horsetooth Mountain Park and Lory State Park, and then took roads and the paved Poudre Bike Trail home. I got to see some wildlife (thank goodness no rattlesnakes, though) and even slept on a few picnic tables. :)
I expected the walk to be about me getting "mentally prepared" for parenthood, but it turned out to be something completely different. Ultimately, it ended up being a really cool bonding experience between me and the little person. At one point on the trail, I ran into a heavily tattooed mountain biker who enthusiastically asked, "so, you're taking the baby for a walk???!!!" Exactly! I thought a lot about how cool it is going to be to have a munchkin in Colorado: I can't wait for the first 14er climb, camping trips as a family, and even exploring the Poudre River in our own backyard.
Despite other's hesitations (and our midwife asking us a week later, "did you consider asking me about this?"...oops...), this was was one of the best decisions that I've made in pregnancy and is something that I will remember for a very long time. I'm now even considering the name Blue (as a middle name) because we spent so much time on the Blue Sky Trail together!