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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Setback

Last Sunday, I woke to sheer terror and incredible pain in my right side. I'd been driven back from mid Missouri to a reunion in Indiana, and was riding with Pat to mid Kansas to walk again there. I was curled in a sleeping ball in the passenger seat, and that position didn't lend itself to taking the jolt of a three car pileup very gracefully. In absolute shock, cursing the knowledge that there was no way I was going to just walk away from this wreck, let alone across country, I set my leg up on the dashboard by my airbag and wept. I cried like a little girl. And I was still crying the entire ride to the hospital, and intermittently laughing, apologizing to the paramedic, yelling about pain. I think I got out all the frustration in that first half hour, because after that its been easy to accept the setback, and set my mind to what I'm meant to learn from it. 
First I learned again and more clearly how kind people can be. Yvonne Hardy, who I'd worked for here in Indiana, drove all the way to St. Louis to pick me up so I can heal here. On the way home she stopped and got three huge pillows just so I would be comfortable on the ride back. Dewayne, who I stayed with a few days near St. Louis, came with supper and picked up our stuff for safekeeping. 
Second, I learned not to rush the journey. I am going to go to mid Missouri where I was instead of getting a ride to mid Kansas. I'd been feeling that I should start from where I had been was ignoring it... Never ignore that gut feeling. Yvonne thinks this setback kept me from some greater evil. She could be right, I think. 
I'm learning how thankful I should be for my good health. A twisted back and sprained leg had me feeling like an old woman. I couldn't even lie in the right position for the chiropractor to adjust me at first. When I could yesterday I felt like I have a new lease on life.
I think the biggest lesson though, is to be where I am, soak it in, drink it down, dive in head first... Cuz I was trying to rush things, this journey I've dreamt of my whole life  - and I'm thankful to have to sit awhile and remember just how much I want to be walking. Should be on road again next Monday.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Brightness

I feel a lot on this journey. Already an introspective person, long miles walked alone can become a sort of thermometer for my every fever inside - and they come often. I burn easily, and use the balm of poetry, or the beautiful souls I meet. Every experience I have on this "quest" as it was recently put to me, seems to outdo the previous one in how good it feels... And then it's over, and I think nothing can ever be that incredible again and get weepy until the next few minutes, when the latest magic comes along.
Recently I stayed near St. Louis a few days with bikers there, and the euphoria of a ride on the highway, helmet less, blown, a little kite set to fly... Made me loath to set out again on the mosquitoe infested dusty road I had before me. But once I stepped foot again on the Katy trail I knew it was right, and that was shortly confirmed by sharing a beer with a 3 generation son father grampa trio, and exchanging adventures. 
A few days later I met four guys, twins, a Bible Belt boy, and an Irishman, cycling across. Joe invited me to camp with them the first night, and after that I chased them for almost a week. I've been well fed and clothed on this trip, but I was starving for comraderie with people on a similar journey. I fell in love with all of them. The second night found us invited into an Irish bar due to Garry and his Irish accent. A far cry from the night before in our little tents, equally incredible. Living the journey in group format was sweet, touring Jeff city, playing my music, pushing my limits in distance walked... When we said goodbye last night, I turned with a few tears. Not a new thing for me on this journey. But a few blocks down, an old man passed me and smiled "on a grey day like this one, you brighten things up" he told me, and stooped away. Even in our low times we can be a light. He made me cry again, that old man, and brightened my night.