The Road Ahead

The Road Ahead

In my last post here, I declared an end to this project. I had good reasons. I still do.

But, good reasons aside, I don’t want my Walk to Fuji to be over.

Odd as it may seem to be drawn to something one has never experienced, I still love Japan. I love its culture, its language, and its people. Japan is a fascinating question to me; a beautiful, mysterious riddle I’m inexplicably compelled to pursue.

However, for the past few years, I’ve seen no viable path forward. That’s been difficult and depressing to live with. It’s not healthy to pursue impossibilities, so I’ve left it alone. I closed that door and walked on.

But then there are times like this past week when sentimentality thwarts reason, and I revisit old, abandoned goals. Against my better judgment, I rethink options, searching for a way to resolve these tensions once and for all.

Autumn is descending here in Portland. All the noise and heat of summer is fading. Clouds filter and dampen the sunlight. Cool winds rise up, and the rains that made Portland’s somber climate so famous have come.

For me, this is walking weather.

Or at least it used to be. For the past two years, fear of severe allergy attacks and uncertainty regarding the exact nature of my medical condition have kept me indoors.

When you have a condition like mine, something that is medically feasible yet rare, it’s dangerously easy to think it’s made-up, imagined. You convince yourself the last bout of nausea and hives was probably just something you ate. Go ahead: Roll down your windows on the drive home. Enjoy all the autumn fragrances of trees and wet earth, chimney smoke, and whatever else the wind carries in from the surrounding fields and forests.

Then you have an attack. Maybe a severe attack, maybe a mild one. The severe attacks put you soundly back in your place, crushing any absurd hope of working past your condition. The mild ones are easier to tolerate in the moment, but they sow a long, maddening trail of uncertainty and confusion.

I’ve been driving home with the windows cracked. Not down all the way. I don’t want to inundate my sinuses with pollen. I just want to enjoy the season. I want to see if I’m able to enjoy the season on my own terms.

So far, so good. I’ve not had a single attack, severe or mild.

And that tells me that maybe, God willing, my walk isn’t over.

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