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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Labyrinth

A halt in the journey, here at The Poor Farm. In the last two days I helped bale over a hundred big rounds of "Cow stuffing" as Bob Hardy calls it. He told me "not bein prejudiced, but you do better at this raking than a lot of guys I've set in the tractor seat! Me and Jim came to two conclusions watching you out there. First, you've fallen in love with that little red tractor. Second, ain't nothin sexier than a woman rakin hay!" 
Bob gives out all day "life is great, if you just let it be" and "gettin old ain't fun, but the alternative ain't worth a shit" and a rehearsal of other little one liners that make me slap my knees and grin. :) He keeps the tractors runnin on red fuel that makes me think of koolaid, and himself runnin on beer and "stogies". Yvonne just laughs "he does all these other things to be organic and healthy and then he runs on beer!" I'm learning a good deal here already, and tomorrow we're going to Tennessee for a "gathering if old hippies". I'm lovin it!

I took this journey in the spirit of Kerouac, of Louis l'amour, of the depression day hobo... It's not just about walking for me, it's about getting my feet in all these places, about learning to do things I never knew about with people all over the country, about letting the journey take over. Here's what pisses me off: I talked to someone recently who was trying to box the walk. "So... I thought you were all stoked about walking the whole way and instead I hear you're taking all these rides and now you're stopping for a whole month?!" 
I didn't say a word back. I don't need to explain actions to people who didn't hear me in the first place. Because the ones who get it will know these things meet the driving goal of this trip - experience!

*The turn inward of a tractor tire...
How strange that a thing like baling hay would be an allegory for the turning inward of the soul!
At the center of the field, a huge tree. Slowly we turn round and mow the grass down til we reach its base. Slowly again we center in, stirring it up. 
Again, we come through and pile it. Last, we turn it to great mounds of field stuff, hay, drying grass. 
So in my soul, in my field of heart stands a great centerpiece, and gently I turn inward in the labyrinth, seeking the middle. Again and again, in new ways, coming to a center.
And at last from all that I harvest great heaps to send out, food for other souls, the gleanings of the inward field.*

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Everything happens for a reason"

Last night I was strolling in the first real rainfall I've been in, covered over with the bright orange poncho a woman named Eileen gave me along the way. 
"Honey, we used this for our kids soccer games and that's long gone. You have it."
Well, I figured since I was being given it that I would need it; so it was. That seems to be the way with things. I pray along the road. So here I was in the rain and I hadn't thought to ask, I was seeking out a shelter myself. I was right near a pavilion here in Tipp City and feeling mighty grateful for it. Just then I heard a voice, and I unraveled myself from the mess of orange I was in and this nice man who seemed about late sixties ( he's 77!) invited this poor urchin home. 
"Everything happens for a reason." He told me first thing, and we talked about that til we got to his wife's thrift shop and she gave me the white long shirt I've been tryin to find cheap for a week. 
At Reevis Mountain, we talked about how the universe conspires together with you when you're doing the right thing, what you were born for, what you love. Well darlin I'm there :) 
So I slept in outta the rain last night and had philosophical talk with a Methodist. This wide land! It's not enough for me that the earth spins and spins and spins, I have to go cartwheeling across the sphere, turning and turning in my own private joy and suffering, out and out like ripples on pond, skipped rock in the quiet sundown.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On the road

Dear god I whispered to myself at some rest point in my 15 + mile day yesterday ... Wouldn't it have been easier to do a sitting meditation? 
But I was given my sign that my path is right. On the road to the beginning of my real trail, the buckeye, a Cherokee woman picked me up. I'd been offered rides all morning, one from a "fellow musician" but it hadn't felt right, though I'm not opposed to getting a ride here and there. When Lynnette stopped, I knew I needed to go with her, and more than that I had to pee and there were no bushes for miles. 
"Oh yes I went walkabout when I was 22. It changed my whole life, taught me who I would be, I learned who God is... I'm excited for you! I went from Iowa to Arizona. This area is the site of bloody battles between the white man and the natives around this time of year so it weeps a little around now. If you find yourself choked up and don't know why... I organize powwows now to keep the culture alive. If anyone asks you to sweat, go. But if they offer koolaid, talk too much, or say its a naked sweat they're abusing it."
She drove me to Providence dam where the towpath begins. (Providence...) and gave me two maps of ohio. 
"Here we are at the water. Leah, whenever you come to water you should go down and wash your face seven times for purification. It's an old Cherokee woman's tradition."
So I did, and set off for Cincinnati on the old Miami wabash and Erie Canal, purified with the Great Spirit guiding me with his people and Providence.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


The time has come for me to go. After so many nights and days thinking and writing on it, wording it differently, stumbling over myself to see if or if not... now that the moment is here I have so little to say. Let my actions speak for themselves, and the journey will be the lines.
I walk tomorrow.