Lately I’ve been taking a lot of walks in the woods. There is a wonderful trail system in the conservation areas here and in the surrounding towns. The Robert Frost Trail is the backbone of that system. Somehow, I’ve never gotten around to walking it end to end. I plan to correct that omission this year.
There are advantages to staying someplace for over three decades. Taking old familiar paths can bring back memories and provide perspective at a time when you internal bearings are all akilter, and this whole process has been tremendously disorienting.
I was walking one of those old trails last week, feeling a little down, and said to myself “you’ll get better”. Then I thought about the times I’d walked down that same stretch decades earlier and from somewhere else in my head came the thought “No, you already are better.”
As broken and beat up as I feel now, I’m still better than the guy who walked there thirty years ago. Maybe the body isn’t in quite as good shape, but all those years together with her, building a life together, raising a family, pushing through setbacks, all that made me a lot stronger and more resilient than that twenty-something guy who first took her walking that same path. She made me better, and even though she’s gone, that remains.