another day on the road.

it was last thursday morning that 106 people came streaming off that ferry.

laughing, joking,

full of big dreams and grand plans.


26 of them have seen their dreams come to an untimely end.

and their plans fall in ruin.

the mchenri became casualties number 25 and 26 this morning.


4 of them have reached the rock.


76 are strung out in a long ragged line,

ranging from nearly finishing in jasper

all the way back to a band of 6, 

now 3 miles ahead of oprah in hohenwald

with 170 miles to go.


terrie came up with some magic today,

defying the odds

and pulling away from oprah on 16 mile hill.


the sound of stilletto on pavement may be faint

but it is still there.

because oprah never rests.


not ever.


terrie won today

she won the chance to try to win tonight.

for terrie the vol state is now sudden death overtime

every 12 hours.


for those out on the road,

this is their 5th night.

11 of them are not even halfway yet.

5 days and 5 nights of living off what they can carry…


and handouts from strangers.

bathing in gas station bathroom sinks

peeing in the bushes

scanning the ditch for unfinished bottles of water.

drawing stares from strangers

and convincing the sheriff that they are not homeless.

(the flori passed bev while she was being interrogated after she was spotted doctoring her feet on the front porch of a dollar general)


5 days and 5 nights of living by their wits

and staying ahead of oprah by sheer strength of will.


5 days and 5 nights of the special vol state diet…


if you can find something you eat it!

if you can’t find something, 

then you eat nothing.


there is a lot more to the vol state than just running.

you are your own navigator

your own scout

your own crew.


 and for the ones who can hear the echo of stilleto heels on pavement all day and all night

every day and every night

they do it all under constant pressure.


at this point everyone is hurt.

everyone is dealing with physical problems.

there is no one to tend their wounds

and no one to comfort them.

they limp on screaming feet

with aching muscles and creaking joints

sunburn, chafing

stomach problems…


a hundred physical insults keep them company.


and they are not quite halfway there.

a “there” that seemed so accessible when they hit enter on the keyboard

and signed up for this journey through hell.

now “there” seems so remote as to be only a myth.

they can see no end.

moving is life

and life is moving.

on they must go

or the oprah will overtake them

and the meat wagon will come.

from somewhere deep inside

they must dredge up the strength to take another step.

every step.


only the strong will survive.

Categories: Vols2021