Wednesday, August 6, 2014

All that Glimmers...

I arose with the sun glimmering off the dew that covered the world. The day began with coffee and a newspaper, then a pleasant stroll into Saint Joseph and Silver Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan.
Though I rose with the rooster crows, many stopped to talk. A woman in her nineties shuffled thru tall grass from her home. She tended her two acres alone and walked the church grounds three times a week. When I asked if I could take a photograph of her she proudly pulled back her hood and said she was an example that you can make it. A younger woman came, she wore an insulin pump. She proudly displayed it when I asked for a photograph. An example that you can make it.
I met the Glimmer family. They did!
I met a lawn mower. He reminded me I had grass to tend when I returned.
I met some boys with big toys. We played in the shade for a moment.
St.Joseph is everything someone would want from a beach town destination. Art, entertainment, boardwalk, carousel, lovely beachfront.
We walked down the hill from downtown to Silver Beach. As beautiful as any sandy beach I have seen by the ocean. I sat at a park bench under a shade tree, breathed in the air and took in the picturesque view.
A woman walked by and asked, "What's you're 'schtick?" I picked up the stick and leash attached to the canvas World and replied,"It's willow."
She said,"Good answer."
Satisfied, she walked on.
I wasn't there long when a girl and her mother arrived. As luck would have it, they lived in the gated condominium high-rise on the beachfront. Therein we stored the World safely away while they gave us a ride back to the water tower in Scottdale. I followed them (with Nice riding with the women) back to the beach where we talked for awhile before loading the World into the van and said our goodbyes.
I stopped on the shaded parkway overlooking the beach and contemplated the journey from Kentucky to the shore of Lake Michigan. After awhile I felt it was time to go. The familiar emptiness of an end to a task. I arose to get in the van and drive away when the glint of light off a brass plate attached to the bench there read, "Tooteloo. It's not goodbye, it's just Tooteloo!"
Apropos.
I took some time to return to Louisville. I stopped to appreciate some people (not all) and things I had rushed by (at one mile per hour) on the way to St.Joseph. A flower bed, a bubbly cashier from India named Kanchan (which means Gold), a shady spot in Riley Park in Delphi. I even helped someone cut tall grass before going home to find the Pink Naked Ladies in bloom and the baby oak tree had sprouted new leaves.
After awhile I will return to the road. Hopefully soon.
For everyday I can be out amongst 'em is a day that makes my heart glimmer.







































Saturday, August 2, 2014

Our Day in the Sun

What do we live for?
To live long and for happiness.
At what age have we made it?
To love each day as a gift.
When do we cease to strive,
for a perfect day in the Sun?







Monday, July 28, 2014

St. Joes' Callin'

After a long nights' walk into Berrien Springs I was able to find a place, in the city park by the river, to rest during the hot daylight under tall shade trees. I had reached the goals of this walk, first Bloomington, then stepping into the state of Michigan. If there were time for me to walk to the Upper Peninsula before my obligations back at home called I would love to keep going without a pause. Walking to St. Joseph was my goal for the last stop before I started driving back toward Kentucky.
I figured if I could get some rest and an early, early start I could make my way the fourteen miles to Silver Beach in St. Joseph before noon the next day without attracting very much attention.
A photographer called from the newspaper in St. Joseph, as I was about to fall asleep in the shade at the park, wanting to know when I would be in St. Joseph. He had heard I was in the area and wanted to catch up with me. I told him if everything went according to plan I would be in town around noon. The days had been hot, I told him my intention was to get most of the miles before the day warmed and if all went according to plan I would call him when I was close to the city. I didn't know that a front of wind and rain was about to blow in from Lake Michigan delaying my planned arrival to the town named after the patron Saint of the Universal Church.
In my universe plans are subject to change.
I awoke and readied to leave early for Saint Joseph, before the sunrise but kept seeing lightening in the distance while I shaved and packed my gear for the days walk. I was about to get out of the van to leave when it began to rain. This was the first time during the whole trip I was delayed because of rain and I jumped at the chance to sleep in. The thunder and lightening with waves of rain put me quickly into a deep sleep. When I opened my eyes to see the puddle outside my window was dancing with rings from raindrops, I closed my eyes guilt-free and settled in for another dream. When I finally awoke the sun had begun to rise, the streets had dried from a strong wind bringing in a cold front. The cool wind and bright skies made for a beautiful morning.
St. Joe was not going to let me go quickly and quietly away in the dark of night.
The day I had thought would bring me from Berrien to St. Joseph fell short in miles but was filled with fun times and good people. Getting out of Berrien Springs took some doing with the wind blowing in the opposite direction I was walking. People, young and old stopped for pictures and conversation. I was called by a radio station and talked on-air while the man who had called from St. Joe, who had found me at the edge of Berrien Springs, stood by. He photographed us and interviewed a few people who stopped while he was there. We all joked and cut-up while also talking about the far reach of diabetes and what we all can do to help. Later the lead writer from his newspaper came to get his own notes on the story saying we would make a good feature story. The photographer had taken notes and heard my story several times but I was happy reviewing it one more time
At the end of the day, the first this trip I had to labor all day against a hard wind, I had to stop in Scottdale on the outskirts of St.Joseph I still had six miles to go.
The timing was right somehow. I was stopped for a picture outside if a restaurant when a man I had met earlier pulled in who gave me a ride to get the van after the women at the restaurant agreed to watch over the World for a few minutes.
When I returned to Scottdale a television-reporter, who had been searching for hours, found me in the restaurant as I was about order, excitedly asked for an interview. I obliged.
St. Joe was calling, but would have wait another day.















Friday, July 25, 2014

Anomaly

In Berrien Springs, a diverse community with people's from fifty (some say eighty) countries around the World, I was impressed by the courtesy at the corner gas-mart. Everyone held the door open for the next person. After passing through the doorway, having the door held open for them, they would then take hold to allow the next person through. I had the opportunity to go into the store four times within an eighteen hour period. Each time I had the same experience. Young or old, well dressed or sagged panted, the good practice of civility held true for my every visit.
There was no one to hold the door for as I left the last time. No reason to exchange the baton with the young man holding the door in one hand, his belt loop in the other.
I would if I could.





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I love the night...

No words can describe the quiet moments where no drone of engines can be heard. The Cheshire moon smiling an orange hello rising over the black horizon... More the shooting star passing beneath it's Crestent.
"I love the night.
The day is okay,
the sun can be fun,..
I live to see those rays slip away...
If only you had been here my dear,
we could have shared this together..."
Blue Oyster Cult



Monday, July 21, 2014

Michigan and Milestones

When I straddled the center line painted on State Line Road I had hoped to have a moment to reflect on my journey through Indiana from my old Kentucky home far away and perhaps begin a profound sounding blog-post.
I hardly had time for a few pictures on the line before the previously empty road had several cars coming from both directions.. As with every milestone I had little choice other than to step past. The sun was high and the pavement was heating up. Thirty nine steps into Michigan we stopped under some shade by a row of trees and brush. I took the bag of Dog food out, filled Nice's water bowl and sat down so he would comfortably eat. We had already waked ten miles but the WallyWorld was two miles ahead. As soon as he had eaten his fill I hurried us along. Taking time to ponder a post would have left uswalking in the hottest time of the day. With just under a mile to go we were scurrying from shaded spot to shade tree. Two miles walked in the dark takes less time than one in the hot afternoon sun because each area of shade is necessary to cool off and offer Nice (the dog) water before pushing to the next dark shadow. At one such stop a woman pulled in with her daughter. She had heard of our walk and was very glad to find us. After a few pictures and conversation about our journey she offered to give us a ride back into South Bend to the van when we had made it the last mile. We were concerned about the heat so while I walked she and her daughter kept Nice (the dog) with them in the air conditioned comfort of her car.
Not long after we had returned to the Walmart in Niles, the first town in Michigan, I began to repair the leak around the plug that holds the air in the World. The inner core of the World is as old as the tattered fabric that covers it. The plug, made of hard plastic, has tiny cracks and the female sleeve of the inner tube is ripping away after thousands and thousands of pulls and tugs at its vulcanized seams. I have found a glue that works well for several months before it gives way to the pressure. It was past due, I have been using the battery power air pumping more often for two weeks to keep the world taught. The leak was getting larger and larger. Even on the hot sun when I usually must release air so the Seams of the outer skin will not split apart I have been adding more.
By the time I had patched and glued, fed myself and the dog, updated photos and did what I could thru Facebook with photo and friend updates I still had no energy or time for writing before I had to sleep. When I awakened at four thirty, got dressed and then inflated the World I found a seam line I had missed. I had to apply more glue and let the World go soft on a pile of blue and green beside the van. Still tired, I could not force myself to write, even with the prospect of a few hours time to let the glue set up hard. I slept then until the sun was high , I slept to eight forty five .
It was already hot when I finally rein later the World Nd stepped off through the parking lot. We had gone only a few hundred yards when Nice flopped down by a shade tree. I was glad I was only going a few miles into town where I planned to find a place where I touch up the World and prepare for ten miles to the next dot on the map (milestone). I was very happy when half of the way to the downtown Niles riverside park the local animal resue advocate stopped for a picture and soon relieved Nice (the dog) from his ball and chain and took him with her while she ran some errands taking two puppies into South Bend. Timing worked out perfectly as she was a few blocks away when I called to tell her I had arrived by the park and had someone to watch over the World in my absence.
I should be trying to sleep now but after recording the surface of the World and all else I need to do, a milestone is a milestone.
Love yourself , walk to another state. A state of better health.
Because it is late and I am in a lowland area I will not recheck or post pictures until another re so this will post at all....





Friday, July 18, 2014

Inquiring Minds...

Bob trotted over across the parking lot to ask, he quickly thanked me for the effort because he was diabetic. He looked slim and fit. I asked his story. He told me after warnings from his doctor that he was on the borderline of diabetes. He was told to loose the weight he had recently gained. When he suddenly, without effort, lost too much and became too thin he realized a problem. With the doctors help, after a year he has his life under control. He was glad he made the changes and felt great. He was the first person of the day I spoke to. I had stayed in the rear of the shopping center beside the hardware store that night. The hardware store's manager had found me when I was washing my clothes at the laundry in the same complex. He said his father was struggling with diabetes, "he loves his tortias." He was happy to to allow me to park by the broken down leaf-truck.
It was the most restful night's sleep I have had on this little journey from Louisville, around the far side of 'Indy wandering Indiana toward parts unknown in Michigan.
All day, as I walked to and thru Plymouth, I was thinking of my first three visitors that morning.
A man who walked from his home to check his mail and pick up a few pieces of wind blown trash before he saw me. Hearing my story he shared he was diabetic, was an active farmer 'getting-on in years but checked his levels every morning and if his numbers were high he did something about it.
As we spoke a woman stopped to take a photograph. She had done so the previous day but had not saved it to her phone's memory. She was a nurse and congratulated me on my effort. As a nurse she knew first hand what diabetes and the effects of our sedentary habits has on our culture. "People need to get the message."
The next was a woman who stopped to ask what I was doing. She said her husband was diabetic and disregarded the heart troubles, the circulation problems, the occasional trip to the hospital as a sign to take care to monitor himself. He did what he pleased. We agreed, some people you just can't reach.
While I am on this roller-coaster of examples here is one more.
A young man, seemed in his mid-twenties, had heard I was walking for diabetes. When he saw me on the road and made a special trip to bring me some food and drink. He was diabetic, was on his way back from Dialysis which he had been on for five years and felt he had to show his appreciation.
Two breaded chicken patties on white bread. Each with one slice of lettuce and mayonnaise.
He made another stop to get a 32-ounce Mountain Dew fountain drink.
How could I turn down his kindness?
How could I not question his choice as if he were my stepchild?
After five years on dialysis I guessed he assumed he was getting flushed out regularly that a healthy diet was immaterial .
I ate and sipped while we visited...


This is why I wax loquacious about ghost towns, marbles found by forgotten railroad stations or moonlit walks instead of the daily waves of emotions both good and tragic.






Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Still Beating Heart

The new 25 , The Hoosier Heartland Highway, from Lafayette to Logansport, cuts a path around all the Heartland towns like a serpent. A wide swath across the heartland that cuts the Main arteries of the hamlets as it detours with a wide four lane divided highway and broad emergency lanes ( Great for me. In the long run not so good for the economy of the heartland's small town.) lined by fence to keep the wildlife from crossing.
The old 25, now chopped in pieces. It's villages like fillets that time may soon digest to memory. Buck,Creek, Rockfield, Burrows. Even Delphi may soon have less population than the cemetery has headstones.
This is only opinion, progress has a deeper cost long into the future.
I started my day from Fulton with breakfast. I ate at the Liar's table at the eatery where the local men gather to contemplate the World's issues. The topic was the rain of the previous evening and where the honey bees had gone. One said the population was forty percent of what it had been. Another reminisced of being chased as a child from a honey tree by a swarm when he was coaxed to get a handful of honey by his adult uncles. I have never seen a honey bee tree and I am only twenty years the man's junior. He had a few stories of great swarms of bees but lamented they swarm no more.
On my way out of Fulton a man stepped from his yard to talk he recommended I look for an Historic Marker ahead that showed the beginning of the forced migration of the indigenous people by our government to the Kansas territory long ago. The marker was behind a guardrail next to a creek now obscured by GMO agriculture and irrigation system pipes.
Old farmers ask where the bees have gone. Gone the way of the Potawatomi people, a stone marker with a metal plaque. Or the old 25, a dead end road fenced with barbed wire.
Progress.
Enough of the soapbox. Michigan! He we come!











Friday, July 11, 2014

The life at Riley

I arrived in Delphi as it became light. The day of patching the World together in Buck Creek, then getting a shower and dinner before leaving Nice to be cared for overnight had left me no time for sleep.
I walked through the night and
was giddy from lack of sleep when I made my way to the center of Delphi.
When I am tired I sometimes ramble. This worked well when I received the call from the Country radio station's morning Rj team. The facts on their own were humorous. I had spent the previous day at BuckCreek saving the world patching the west coast. The day before the World rested at the nursing home for BINGO and lunch. My ramblings had the DJs laughing, while I was also mindful of the message. Love yourself, go for a walk.
I tuned in with my Walkman radio and was able to hear the segment repeat a few minutes later. Maybe it was because I was tired but it was, I thought, entertaining and informative.
The Delphi Street Superintendent told me Riley Park would be a good place to spend the day. I tied the World by the town Armory door and after I shuttled the van back from Buck Creek we walked the World down to the park.
I napped off and on throughout the day. I picnicked with watermelon, sharing it with a group of young girls who couldn't stop watching me enjoy. I napped again, awoke to a woman sitting in her car eating lunch I her car, under the shade of the tree in the landscaped parking lot island a few feet away.
Unable to resist she asked what I was doing. Two hours later we knew each others life story and she had agreed to pick us up in the morning when we were finished walking.
A group of people who were training their dogs watched over the World when I went to the grocery to get dinner. Several young men came to talk and my shade tree friend before I slept.
It was a good stay in Riley Park in Delphi.