Walked: 14.6 Km
As usual, my walk today was done without any water. It would be 13 Km between water fountains, which is reasonable given what I’ve observed. However, the heat and the unevenness of the terrain was more intense than I expected. Soon I began sweating profusely, and I doubted the wisdom of this self-imposed constraint.
The walk was beautiful, along a coast with Flysch formations punctuated by shade provided by thick vegetation. I came down a gully and suddenly I found myself just a few meters from a naked man with an erection.
We were both surprised to find each other at such a close distance, I said “don’t mind me, I’m just going through, I sure wish I could go commando myself”. Up ahead I saw he was accompanied by a woman dressed as Eve. We laughed and he offered a beer which I declined, perhaps too hastily because a few meters ahead I was soon reminded of my thirst and regretted my response, but by then it would have been too awkward to go back and take him up on his offer.
As I continued, I came across a murky stream. Two days ago I drank from a stream like this, and got slightly sick. Though evidently these streams are born not far away, they go through cow pastures and surely become contaminated. The “sickness” was only a pair of urgent needs for a toilet, but this time I felt my body make the choice of forgoing murky water and put through with the thirst.
The walk would have been fascinating without the imperious need for water, but attention becomes attuned to the most immediate need, and my ears were twitching to hear running water, and instead of looking out in the scenery I was inspecting low lying vegetation for silent streams of water that sometimes run down between them.
Finally I saw a city, but the path didn’t follow the most direct route. It wanted to take me through a small detour. I paused for a moment, licked my dry lips, and thought the path went through the detour for a reason. Some 30 meters ahead I came upon a water fountain, and my heart leaped with joy. I gulped water until my stomach couldn’t handle any more and made my way into the city.
By now I’ve been dehydrated by my foolishness five times perhaps. The body has a strange way of dealing with it: unquenchable thirst, and then refusing to release the water. The legs become swollen with the extra liquids, and if you press a finger into your calf, the hole remains for a couple of seconds, as if your legs were made of play-dough. It takes an entire day for your body to regain homeostasis.
It’s hard to believe that primitive man would have constant access to water sources, or any practical way of transporting large quantities of clean water. I suspect it’s a matter of training, for I’ve seen my own capacity for going without water increase with these experiments. There is no practical value in being able to do so, but then again, in spiritual terms the limits of the body are a source of self-knowledge.