Walking Journal / Walking

Walk 24 – Iroquois Park

. 2 min read . Written by Russell Smith
Walk 24 – Iroquois Park

I felt crestfallen and gloomy

One of Louisville’s signature parks, I’d visited only two or three times before. My daughter, Cordelia, and I decided to walk up to the North Overlook. She took the steep steps easily; I huffed and puffed, stopping at least four or five times, to make the 0.2 mile journey to the top. My lungs and legs cried out to halt. Every step, every breath induced pain. 

Despite my congenital heart condition, I try to take good care of my physical body. I walk a lot. Each week, I strength train, do yoga, ruck and see a physical therapist. Sometimes, I have visions of taking relatively daring adventures, say, walking the Appalachian Trail. Yes, I would have to take it slowly – very slowly. But, I wondered, if I took it slowly enough, and I rested whenever I needed to, could I make it? Maybe I would be the first Tricuspid atresia patient to walk the AT (that I know of)! What an accomplishment that would be!

It’s a pipe dream. I simply couldn’t handle the terrain – hill after hill after hill, for hundreds of miles, then confronting the most soul crushing terrain at the end, in Maine. 

Even far more modest physical aims seemed like the smoke disappearing out of a pipe. I’d thought about walking or rucking a marathon. Or walking 50 miles. Or doing the Goggins Challenge – walking 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. 

Two-tenths of a mile sapped my hopes for attempting even one of them. Two bloody tenths of a mile. 

All of life is limitation.

We reached the North Overlook. Our city of about one million people seemed so insignificant, splotches of white and gray, swallowed by green. As if we barely existed.

We walked downhill to the car. I felt crestfallen and gloomy. 

All of life is limitation. I felt achingly finite indeed.