After a grueling twelve-kilometer trek on our first day on Week Without Walls, spirits were low as we sat for breakfast pondering the harsh reality of hiking another six kilometers into the jungle. Not only were we to carry our own food and clothes for a day, but we needed to cross four rivers and set up camp in the middle of nowhere.
I woke up that morning bright and earlier because the following words would not let me sleep. I am not sure how effective this poem was to inspire the eighth graders on that day, but perhaps it will inspire someone today…
someday it will end
life is a trek,
we start eager and full of vigor
everything is new, novel.
we progress quickly down a preplanned trail
oblivious of our surroundings.
we talk to hear our own voices
never asking questions
we have all of the answers.
perched in the core of our own worlds
walking passed spectacular splendor
the forest only a wall of green,
our eyes set on the ground so we don’t trip
we don’t trust our senses.
our ears only hear droning voices
rambling on and on about what makes us comfortable:
applebees, halo-three, coca cola, macdonalds… the future
it takes guts to live in the present
to be here and now
to enjoy this moment as it is
not what it could or should be.
life is a trek and someday it will end
if we are looking toward that end
we will miss the tiny globes of water hanging on each leaf
entire universes waiting to evaporate
or flowers rising in the strangest places
when we look toward the finish line, the finish line is all we see.
when we only think of arriving not appreciating the journey
life is a trek and it will wear us down.
it will lose its charm and cause us pain.
it will break our bodies and test our wills.
it will force us to decide what type of men or women we want to be.
it will not always be fun, comfortable, or easy.
we will not always be young and carefree.
like a trek life is not meant to be a stroll
through a mall with fake people, buying fake goods, eating fake food,
sold to them by fake men in fake suits,
life is real
it is dirty.
it is the sensation of your body moving, sweating.
no matter what the commercials try to sell us
life will often stink.
life is the feel of mud on our shins and between our fingers.
it is uncombed hair and a cramp in our calf; it is eating what is there
and feeling blessed not to go hungry.
life is a trek.
each person must choose how to walk or to walk at all.
will you choose to walk with awe and curiosity?
will you understand that you are a mere spec of dust in a web that connects all life?
or will you trudge along, whining as if life is some sort of punishment or chore,
only seeing yourself, your needs, your wants?
or will you like millions of other people hypnotized by their own consumption and self worth,
glued to their video games, cell-phones, and televisions not walk at all.
it is a choice,
life is a trek
walk, and walk long.
one step after the next.