I have walked the highway, but like life: It often walked me.
Still there are things worth remembering.
* You can never carry enough water. Certainly cold water and better yet ice cold water. Friends tell me, "Carry a refrigerator." I wish I could.
Even carrying plenty of water is not always possible. My pack runs 20+ pounds without H2O. Every liter of H2O adds two pounds. Dehydrated water would be good addition, but not yet perfected. I may have work on that invention.
My pack began overweight. Andy Horujko, world champion walker whom I met on my first walk as we ferried across Lake Michigan, told me, "You're carrying too much in your pack. Seventeen pounds." Oy. He was probably right, but ....
* Water and trees are favorite commodities on the road. Water to drink, rinse in and to cool my feet. I relish the running water of a rivulet, ditch or canal. I took more than a few "baths" next to the highway in one or the other watery element.
How grand when the water is cool to cold. But, I will take water almost any way I can get it.
* Trees provide shelter from the heat and comfort on rest breaks. When I am out on the road for the night, I most often try to find a tree - preferably evergreen - to park my gear and flag and body for sleep.
I know that when I walk I absorb energy - chi - from the sky and earth and sun. But, I do believe trees and grasses have their own particular modifications of vital force to share with those in the outdoors.
Interestingly while staying with my friend Dorothy in Atchison KS, I found and read a copy of the book called Earthing. A worthwhile effort which reminds us that we have separated ourselves from nature and the Earth in specific.
Simply taking the time and energy to ground oneself can be not only refreshing but also healing. Read the book or just take a gander at http://www.earthing.com/ Healing and improved health can be as near as some fresh air, sunshine, and contact with the living Earth. Walking may add benefits, but just getting in contact with Mother Earth can have grand effects.
* Eating on the run can be a challenge. But, many evenings ago in Wyoming ... I had stopped on the side of the road to rest and get into the shade made by some huge alfalfa bales. After some minutes, Tammie Nichols saw me and drove over in her ATV to visit.
We talked for a time about all kinds of things: family, ranching, football, walking, water. She tried to suggest that I could camp nearby on her property. I said, "I am walking another 10 miles."
We parted after she told me about the next irrigation watering hole where I could cool my feet. I found the spot and enjoyed the brief respite.
A few miles later, a man in a pickup appeared. He said, "I'm the husband of the woman, Tammie, you met a few miles back. These are for you."
THESE were a hamburger and an apple presented to me by Mr. Nichols. I knew little more than to ask for Mr. Nichols's name - Dale - and say "Thank you very much."
I am generally vegetarianesque, but have made several exceptions on this Walk and others. I have had hamburgers, fishwiches, turkey sandwiches so far. No elk or bear meat, yet.
I have learned or attempted to live like the Romans, "when in Rome."
* Weather changes quickly. Like in Montana, people are told, "If you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes."
Patience is a great virtue. Patience with nature an equally valuable one.
* Nature is not only changeable. It is also magical.
I have run into a whole range of weather variables on the trip. Fortunately, I was able to wait expectantly on rain, wind, and penetrating sun until the Shift came. Voila!
* People do nice things without asking. See blog on the Kindness of Strangers.
Just as Nature can be giving, nurturing and comforting.
Human beings do wonderful things, sometimes tiny ones and sometimes bigger ones to help neighbors and strangers.
The Sun pours its light equally on friends and adversaries. We need to learn to do the same.
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Be Well - In Amity, Unity and Imagination.