I’ve hit a roadblock. It is equally physical and mental. On the physical side the trail seems to be moving slow. This may be the terrain itself through New York which seems to twist and turn at every possibility and go over many rock piles. Mentally, I’ve ran out of things to think about on the trail and I’m left with thinking about the miserable conditions themselves. This is a cicada year, one that happens only every 17 years. They are everywhere. It also rained more than anyone can remember in New York and mosquitoes are in abundance. There is some strange tropical system continuing to bring rain and heat to the area. It is supposed to get even warmer. So I’m taking a break; for how long I don’t know.
I’m at a Ramada in Fishkill NY. This is the nicest, and most expensive, hotel I’ve had on the trail. I don’t really care about money anymore. I’m willing to spend all of it to make sure I stay on the trail and succeed. In reality though, I have plenty of money to do the trail a few times over, so it won’t be a problem.
I spent a day at the Graymoor Spiritual Life center – a monastery of the Catholic church. Hikers are allowed to stay for free outside under a pavillion by the ballpark. I took a self-guided trespassing tour through the grounds and found a number of statues, crosses, and an abandoned stairwell. Most of the place seems abandoned. The living part is used as a hosptial for drug addiction; the friars working as counselors.
Yesterday I lost a toenail for the first time in my life. It was black for a few weeks every since I got a new pair of shoes and has now fallen out entirely.
I’ve been enjoying listening to music on the Ipod that Sal Paradise sent me. I’ve also been singing hymns that I tore out of an old discarded hymnal. There are two verses that particular I meditate over.
The second verse of “How Great Thou Art” – When through the woods and forest glades I wander, I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees. When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, I hear the brook, I feel the gently breeze.
And the third verse of “It is Well with My Soul” – He Lives! Oh the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to his cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Oh My Soul.
The verse of “How Great Thou Art” makes me think of the beautiful creation of God and the appeal to creation that some theologians make to attempt to prove His existence. But really, I just laugh; for where is my “gently breeze.” It is downright hot out here. When the birds sing they wake me up! The brooks are pretty nice, but I go could for some more gentle breezes.
The verse of “It is Well with My Soul” I believe is an excellent summary of the Gospel itself. He Lives! This is the reason for the hope of a Christian. Jesus rose from the dead and was witnessed by what I think St. Paul says 150 people at various times. This thought (his resurrection) is glorious because it promises that we too have hope in a resurrection of our bodies because of the effects of sin no longer coming upon us. It is because God has redeemed us that we can truly “Praise the Lord.”
What else, what else. I saw a family of 12 or so wild turkeys on the trail. That was wild. Pun intended. There was a U.S.A. flag on the top of Prospect Rock, the highest point on the trail in NY. NY loves its American flags! I think it’s a 9/11 thing. Speaking of 9/11, the monastery had a special prayer garden just for 9/11. Obviously this event was a big deal to New Yorkers; much more so than for us who lived distant from the Twin Towers.