The ache in your bones tells you you’re alive, and with a vengeance…

December 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

In Rabindranath Tagore’s He (Shey), He temporarily loses his body when he falls into Telenipara Ghat. His joy upon being reunited with his flesh and bones:

I remembered I was invited to a meal at Pupu-didi’s. I didn’t have the money for the train fare, so I set out on foot.

The very effort of walking was such an unimaginable comfort. My ecstasy soon had me drenched in perspiration. I took one step after another, and chanted to myself, “I’m not stopping, I’m not stopping, I’m going on an on.”

I’ve never walked with such verve in my life. Dada, you’ve got an entire body ensconced in that armchair of yours – you don’t know the happiness of tiring yourself out. The ache in your bones tells you you’re alive, and with a vengeance – beyond all doubt or question.

This part of the story is on my mind this morning as Ian walks to the next town without me. I will follow him by bus this afternoon but sadly cannot join him on account of one banjaxed shin. It’s the first time in hundreds of miles and hours that we won’t walk together; it was a difficult decision and I shed a small tear this morning as he toddled out of town without me.

The body is a mercurial machine. We walked 38km on Saturday and it was brutal but I felt incredible at the end of the day – strong and able and alive. Weary as I was, it was curiously pleasurable to wash my socks in the sink in preparation for the next day, that next day that pushed tired muscles too fast and too far – I’ve been limping and wincing ever since. Things change fast when you’re travelling slow…

Hopefully I’ll be back on the road tomorrow; for now I’m waiting on a bus to Mulke, thinking about the unimaginable comfort that walking has been to me… and the ache in my bones that tells me I’m alive and with a vengeance…

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