Today as I was running the road that follows the airstrip down one way, curves around the end of the strip, and follows back up, I thought about how I had gotten used to there being no asphalt. No sidewalks or pavement.
Except for the airstrip itself, the rest of the base is completely covered in gravel. Ranging in size from the most populous standard-size; about as big as your palm, through the quite common size of an Idaho baking potato, to the regularly seen melon (and larger) sized bullies, which hunch over in squatting bulks, daring you to say anything.
It seems somewhere in the first days of arriving my feet have made some adjustments and I now walk as if barefoot in a darkened room; toes questing out as I take a flat sweeping step, a tad slower than normal, lightly onto the ball of my foot – bringing my heel and the weight of my body down once safe and secure footing is assured. Close your eyes and walk around the room a bit and you will see what I mean.
Running on a gravel road takes a bit of foot placement concentration as there is the strong possibility of physical injury and worse - such as the grief I would have to put up with from my buddies. ‘When Sgt Corbin bit it running’, would enter the deployment lexicon forever after as a reference point such as, “No, that happened after Sgt Corbin twist/broke his ankle because he was still on crutches.”
Anyway, as I was running, picking my way carefully and eyeballing likely ankle-biters, I thought about how the gravel road was slowly becoming paved, in a fashion, from the various vehicles – mostly fat-tired military, but also with a couple of 18-pax civilian vans – constantly driving, back and forth, day by day.
By its nature, the ‘paving’ is slow. And it seems at times, like at night when no one is looking, some of the stones grind their rough shoulders together to work themselves up from the rocky earth, like in a New England farmer’s field during spring tilling, so they can squat, toad-like, on the road in anticipation of the next unsuspecting ankle.
However, the constant and consistent effort of the vehicles tires is working and the process, while slow, is working to make the rocky road easier and safer to travel. Perhaps there are several analogies that could be made from differing viewpoints of the rocky road here in TK and the encompassing one we find ourselves on in the country, but I am going to just keep on running and my eyes on the road.
David: Thanks for your comments. Since you had several questions, I will blog the full response. I appreciate your interaction as it helps me know what you would like to read about. Hope you keep engaged.