In a few days, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I begin the seven-day, seventy-mile journey—Walk with the Ancients. When this idea was first proposed over a year ago, I was very excited about the prospects. Why, as a 55 year old woman (not in the greatest physical condition), would I want to participate in what is sure to be, for me at least, a physically challenging and taxing undertaking? It isn’t related to some “great cause” (such as fighting cancer, diabetes, or domestic violence) like the proliferation of other American undertakings be they walks, runs, or bike rides. It isn’t motivated by a religious practice like pilgrimages such as the Hajj that Muslims undertake to Mecca or to sites of professed miracles as my friends in Mexico undertake.
What draws me to participate is a deeply felt connection to and awe for the Newark Earthworks.
There is something about the Newark Earthworks that seem to evoke that sense of connection for people from all walks of life and all sorts of ancestry. Be they Native peoples from all varieties of tribal affiliations, archaeologists trying to understand cultures of the past, international tourists drawn from faraway places, a variety of “new-age” practitioners, Mormons from Utah, or golfers—the Newark Earthworks call. This was true for the early citizens of Newark, who recognized the earthworks as something valuable and worth protecting, as well. I, for one, appreciate the foresight that prompted them to protect a significant portion of the earthwork complex for future generations.
I won’t be undertaking this journey alone, to date there are thirty people who have committed to participate, for the entire distance, in this walk—some I know, many I don’t. Many others have committed to walk part of the way. The diversity of participants reflects the diverse groups of people drawn to the earthworks and I’m sure that our individual motivations are as varied as well. There is however one point of commonality amongst us, each of us will be leaving our ordinary lives for a period of time to participate in an extraordinary activity. For the duration of the walk, we will become a community. Although we can’t anticipate everything that will happen on this walk, I have no doubt that it will be transformational on some level for all of the participants—whether walking the whole way or for a few hours.
I’d like to invite you to participate in some way on this walk. Maybe you can come to send us off at the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park next Saturday at 10am, maybe you can walk a day or hour along the route, maybe you can attend one of our evening programs, maybe you can join us at Geller Park on Friday, October 16th at 3pm and walk the final 1.5 miles with us, maybe you can attend Newark Earthworks Day at the OSU-N campus on October 17th, or the open house at the Octagon at the 18th… in some way, I hope that you’ll share this experience with us!
You can follow the walkers by reading our daily blog at http://newark-earthworks.blotspot.com/ .
Information about all of this year’s Newark Earthworks Day activities and directions to each of the events can be found at www.newark.osu.edu –click on Newark Earthworks Day.