Finishing the Walk

I haven’t thought a lot about Mark’s walk for a few months. That’s not to say that I haven’t thought about Mark. A day, nary an hour passes when I don’t think of him, especially when I see a picture of him somewhere in the house.

On Sunday, I was working the bases during a Twilight League game and I looked up and saw the moon, pre-dusk. I thought of a tune I’ve heard countless times by Xian rockers, The Violent Burning. The chorus line, “if you ever reach the moon before I do, wave goodbye.” I imagined Mark waving to me planted on the grass of a baseball infield. It was hard not to tear-up and hold it together. I had to because that’s just life—plus, “there’s no crying in baseball,” at least according to Tom Hanks.

Holidays without Mark are tough. Monday and Tuesday were rough days for Mary and me. They always will be.

Today, after completing my tasks for the day around noon and dreading waiting around ‘til tonight’s umpiring assignment, I dug out my 2017 Rand McNally Road Atlas. For some reason, I take comfort looking at the map of where Mark walked and then, projecting the potential route he would have taken west from where he was killed.

Since I haven’t been doing my post-Mark math for awhile, I didn’t realize that he likely would have been done with his walk in June. He would have probably have been home with us over the 4th, joining us as we did our first open water swim. We donned our wetsuits, but Mary went back in afterwards without hers so I’m guessing Mark would have been fun in just his swim trunks.

So if my calculations are right—using a fairly conservative 14 miles per day average for walking and plugging that  info into Google Maps, Mark would have likely have ended his walk on June 20 or June 21 on Day 250 or so, probably somewhere near where he completed the First Crossing back in 2010, at Santa Monica Beach. We hadn’t talked about those particulars prior to his death.

A stretch of road Mark might have crossed.

He’d probably have stopped to visit a few people before returning to Providence. He’d have been home to tend to matters at his house. And then we’d have coaxed him to come up to Maine for a visit and a feast worthy of the vegan superhero he was and a grand reunion at Woodward Cove.

Instead, I’m sitting here at my laptop, banging this out and feeling totally lost, like most afternoons. Then, I have to reel myself back in and get my shit organized to do a baseball game. Calling balls and strikes might be the best therapy I have right now.

That’s my summer, folks. It ain’t often pretty, but I’m just keeping it real.