|OK, I'm writing this.
I should be cleaning my apartment, or packing, or sleeping.
But I just have to write for a minute.
I'm nervous. Scared, worried,
frazzled. Those who have been around me the past few years will
tell you how seldom that happens.
They say the longest journey begins
with a single step. Bullshit. (After tomorrow, I can't say
words like that anymore; although the Pilgrim's
Vows don't specifically prohibit swearing, it seems inconsistent
with the other clean-mouthed practices listed.)
Anyway, it's poppycock, balderdash,
rubbish to say that the journey begins with the first step. It
begins when you start planning. Or when you were born. Gods
know everything I've done in my life has led up to this.
At this point, it seems like the
walking is going to be the easy part. I still haven't finished the
essentials, and what's more, some of the plans I made didn't come to
fruition (like selling all my stuff), which once again throws me back on
the kindness of those around me, and forces me to acknowledge my
interconnectedness, and be humble. No
man is an island, especially me.
My friend Hugo once gave me good advice
about keeping calm as you prepare for a trip. Once you're on
the plane, he said, there's nothing you can do. So just keep
dreaming about being on the plane, the cares of the past few days behind
you. The problem is, there is no plane. I may never leave
the ground, even to get on a train! I'll be on the earth the whole
time. I've already adjusted my schedule: I thought I'd try to
start from Nihonbashi by 6 a.m., which would mean walking from my house to
Nihonbashi by 4:30 or so. Now I hope to start from
home by 7:00! This is partly so I can sleep, but partly so I can
be in Nihonbashi at a time when I can find someone to sign my trip book
(more about that tomorrow). Anyway, tomorrow's goal is somewhere
between Kawasaki and Yokohama (old name: Kanagawa)--20-25 kilometers,
theoretically 5-6 hours of walking. So why rush the start?
I'd rather leave in good (or at least better) condition.
I HATE TO START ON A NEGATIVE NOTE.
But I'm still pre-start, remember? The truth is, I just have
opening night (or night before) jitters, compounded by the load of stuff
left to do. It's easier to focus on that, and gripe about it, than
to face the fact that as of tomorrow I may not see anyone now in my life
for three months. That I'm carrying the very serious and
emotion-laden wishes and prayers of people dear to me. That I
don't really have a clue where I'll be sleeping tomorrow night.
If you're reading this in Tokyo, you
also know that it's been raining. So my first day is likely to be
a wet one. And my first night may be spent indoors, for all my
bragging about sleeping outside.
More advice, this from my friend and
former priest Father Ron. I once had some medical tests done, and
had to wait two weeks for the results. As I fretted, he said,
"Well, don't live all two weeks at once." So I shouldn't
do three months of worrying all in one night. Small
moves, Ellie, small moves.
So really, despite the stuff on my
mind, I'm excited. Stoked, jazzed, atwitter. I really can't
wait. (And I really can't believe that my spell checker let
"atwitter" through. I thought my friend Wayne made that
The tone of this piece is more like
what you'll usually find in The Journal:
what's on my mind, etc. But since all I've done today is prepare
and fret, this is what you get. Sorry. And thanks.
Tomorrow's gonna be GREAT! (But my spellchecker rejected "gonna.")