Saturday, June 14, 2008


"Lighten up! Reduce, reduce, reduce!" Nate keeps yelling at the Longest Walkers.

Nate is the Longest Walk's sargent at arms, the one that keeps us organized, wakes us up in the morning, gets us into morning circle, convinces us to help load and unload the huge weight of luggage we carry in trailers from town to town--
the backpacks, the sleeping bags, the tents.

Nathan is tall and has a big commanding voice and perhaps because of this is not loved by certain people. "Oh shut UP," mutters one woman after Nathan has barked another set of orders.

But he gets the job done. And he has reminded me, with his latest order to 'reduce', of how much baggage I carry around.

I realize that one of the reasons I am on the Longest Walk, aside from my desire to bring more respect to Mother Earth and Native sacred sites, is to reduce my baggage, in both the physical and the metaphorical sense.

When I am walking, I can feel every little extra ounce in the canvas bag that I carry strapped around my shoulder--oh why the hell am I carrying that stupid comb, do I really think I will suddenly want to whip it out while I am walking and comb my scraggly-ass hair that hasn't been combed in a week?

I feel, as I put one foot in front of the other towards the seventeen miles a day that we walk,, a letting go, a freedom and focus. There is nothing that is important but my feet, the road, the land, and the rest of the people I am walking with.

With none of the tempting baggage of my past around me--no house, no car, no job, no history, I am free.

Free to invent new baggage.

I did what Nathan "suggested", unloaded some of my winter stuff from the trailer and sent it away in a brown box.

Afterwards, I promptly went to Good will and spent $12 on 3 new skirts, which of course will fill up the hole left by my old baggage.

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