The Hardest Part (from today’s point of view)

WARNING- contains upsetting description of a dead cat. I suggest only reading if you’re emotionally in a good space to receive such a story.

Two weeks ago I saw a dead cat on the side of the road. I smelled it before I saw it, but nothing could have prepared me for the scene – one I could barely avoid stepping on due to a small shoulder and heavy traffic. The cat’s eyes were open, stomach split, and intestines were spread on the pavement.

Nauseous at the sight, I did my best to get around it without putting myself in way of cars, took a deep breath once beyond the stench, and started crying.

I cried out of shock and fear for what I had seen. I cried for the loss of a life that may have been a family pet. I cried because when you’re walking 25 miles on pavement, with too many cars to hear yourself think, all the ugly of the world feels so much closer, personal.

Of course, that personal relationship applies to the beauty of the world all the same – the sunrises that make me feel like I’m floating, the hawks that call and kettle above me, the group of kids playing soccer that brought tears to my eyes. These moments of ugliness and moments of beauty sometimes happen within the same morning, same hour, or even simultaneously.

This morning someone asked me what the hardest part of the walk has been so far. That’s a question I get regularly, and I always seem to have a different answer. Today, surprising myself with my own response, I said it’s the extreme range of emotions I experience within each day. I also said that that challenge is one of the most amazing gifts of the journey, and I believe both to be true.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. I am in a warm bed in Tucson and will soon fall asleep (well before midnight) to the sound of church bells ringing, train horns sounding, dogs barking, and fireworks popping. I am allowing myself to feel the simultaneous joy for 2020 ending and grief for the loss we experienced as a human race this year. Thinking of those who have lost loved ones this year, and hoping for a 2021 filled with changes toward a healthier world.

Happy New Year 🌍

14 thoughts on “The Hardest Part (from today’s point of view)

  1. Happy New Year Hannah. Jess here of former Allanton Peace Pole staff. Thank you for your wonderful glimpses of life across the pond and for your courage. My daughter said ‘ that’s hardcore’ when I told her what you were doing.
    I am with you all the way.
    with love


    1. Hi Jess!
      Thanks so much for writing and supporting the walk. It’s great to know you’re following along! Happy New Year, I hope it is peaceful and healthy 🎊❤️🎉🌍


  2. Another beautiful statement, Hannah, and I will be interested in your feedback if you get around to reading my chapter called Roadkill.

    And my best guess, having seen those white painted trunks myself and trying to recall what I heard in 2014, is that they are painted to protect the tree from ants. Maybe I’m making that up? Ha.


    On Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 9:43 PM Miles For Climate wrote:

    > Hannah posted: ” Image description: So much traffic.Image description: > Painted tree trunks…Why? LMK thoughts.Image description: A long road to > Phoenix. Road sign : 52 miles Image description: Tucked my bandana into my > hat to hide from the afternoon sun – always on my r” >


  3. I applaud what you are doing! I have traveled across the same part of the country seven times by car, so I can imagine the lands you are passing through. There is so much beauty! And yet, so much destruction of nature. What you are doing will draw attention to both. Thank you for your bravery.❤️


    1. Thanks so much for your comment and support!! So many different things to digest… Happy new year – wishing you health and peace!


  4. Keep up the good work. And thanks for sharing your journey. Also- I walk the Boston Marathon route for the Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I have used the Bandaid hydro seal bandages for blisters. They helped. And New Balance trail runners are great for support. Good luck!


    1. Hey there!
      Apologies for such a delayed response, but thank you so much for your comment!! I will definitely try the hydro seal bandaids- willing to try all things at this point 😊
      It’s great to hear from a fellow walker – thanks again!!


  5. Saw Hannah in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona about 20 miles from the New Mexico border! Saw her about noon and she had walked about 18 miles that morning! Keep walking girl!! —Larry and Ward


  6. Hannah,
    MBCA is having our monthly meeting tonight and we will be sending you a big Thumbs up! Gratifying to hear you are logging miles and spreading the word. We are looking forward to hearing more about your journey. You continue to inspire!


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