Miles walked today: 8.16mi /?km
Total training miles to date: 125.37mi /?km
Days left ’til I leave: 8
Had a lovely walk this morning with Elaine and a new friend around Staats Lake in Keizer. It was loaded with ducks and geese and beautiful plantings all around — I don’t know why I haven’t been walking there before. The cloudy sunrise looked lovely reflected in the water and it was soooo quiet except for birdsongs echoing off the buildings that surround the lake.
We had a great talk about walking in ancestral lands and those that call our spirits. It was my first time saying an official goodbye — to Elaine — that when they left (and I continued for another turn around the lake) I felt moved and teary. Reminded that I’ll be walking alone, I think. And that I’m loved. That too.
On my way home, my “backpack pariah” theory was blown out of the water when I ran some errands, including stopping at the bank to get cash for the trip. Mind you, I walked into the bank wearing my big backpack stuffed with cotton blankets and my white sunhat. I must be quite a sight! Anyway, I volunteered to the teller that I was in this getup because I was training to do my walk and would be leaving next week.
Someone in the next line overheard and asked, “Where are you going?” So I told her, and before I knew it, I had an audience of 3 tellers, and 7 people in various lines, all listening to me briefly describe this pilgrimage across Spain that I’m about to undertake. “Wow,” they all said. And, feeling uncertain about how to bring my little speech to close, as my banking was done, I said, “So wish me luck!” And, smilingly, they all did! In unison!
And it dawned on me that people are curious! I do look admittedly odd, but it’s not judgment I’ve been experiencing, but curiosity — and reticence to intrude. It was a delightful exchange and it heartened me all the whole way home.
At one intersection, I witnessed a potentially dangerous situation in which an elderly lady pulled into the wrong lane at the stop light — into the oncoming one — completely oblivious. The woman behind her was honking wildly to get her attention without success. I happened to be crossing the 5 lane street at this very moment, so I asked a third woman to pull forward and I proceeded to direct the elderly lady into the correct lane behind her. Whew. Scary — for her — and everyone else on the road. I was glad to be on foot and out of her way.
I also watched a police visit unfold in slow motion and gained new respect for the dangers that police officers face every day. As I walked, I spotted a white SUV way off in a grass field, where it shouldn’t be. The home owner met the officer outside, and I watched as the cop walked alone across the bright green, but wide open area with nothing to hide behind for cover. As he approached the vehicle, he slowed and I felt nervous for him, wondering what he’d find inside. He disappeared behind trees as I walked, and when I could see him again he was writing down the VIN number. Relief! I turned a 90* corner and when he appeared again, I could only see his truck at a distance — though a siren wailed momentarily and then that honking sound echoed across the fields. I think he was allowing the homeowner’s child to try out the sirens. Sweet. Yay for happy endings.
I leave in 8 days. If we stay with Kent and Carol, next Monday, it will really be 7 days before my journey begins. One week.
If you’re the praying type, your prayers are welcome. If you’re the beams of good energy type, send them. If you’re the effusive well-wishing type, please do comment below. I’m in the home stretch, and frankly a little distressed about the amount of work I “need” to do before I leave. Your encouragement would mean even more to me than cheers from a bank full of strangers.