Monday, July 23, 2012

Soul Searching in the Mythical State of Jefferson

After the "turn" in the road a calm stayed with me while I worked the World past the fork in the road to Coquille. Edging over the lanes I rolled along tight hand rails to stay on the south 101 to Bandon. Occasionally someone would stop, but most of the time a car would slow and a passenger would snap a drive-by shot as I held the World off the white line standing in a ditch or lumbering along washed out cliff edges of hard sand that much of this Oregon Dunes region seems to rest. Not a picnic, I wonder as they slow to almost a crawl as I strain to keep the World from rolling down a ravine and retired couples bear down on them in a motor home as big as a house pulling the V-W bus they travelled with "back in the lean years" that requires no special training to drive, to click a blurred photo through their tinted windshield. Some may pull off and wait for many minutes watching my progress to catch an image when I get close, then drive on without a word. If I have a spare hand I give them a wave but usually the white line,the wind direction, the angle of the road, the change in pressure and elevation as it effects the pressure of the World, has my attention. When someone stops I do my best to answer their questions, share my story and sometimes hear about their journey. Cross county bicyclists, cross the world bicyclists, homeless travelers, families on vacation or a weekend trip, local motorists or a soldier on a soul searching mission. The latter I met Saturday morning. As I rolled up he had pulled off safely, opened the trunk of his car to offer me food and water and saluted me upon my approach. He had driven 1200 miles "balls to the wall". I guess he just needed to stop long enough to have someone like me to tell him to slow down. I recommended the dunes; a man had told me the day before that a walk out in the dunes had a special mystical quality that he took advantage of when he needed to clear his mind. I told the soldier it's hard to find yourself at sixty miles per hour, that he was far enough from Salt Lake to calm down. After we parted I took my own advice breathing in the smells around me and feeling the soft bed of pine needles under my feet along the ditch line.
On the road you don't have to go far to find solace or revisit your demons. While calmly pressing forward I weaved through road construction barriers to a site where a slide had washed out a hillside. A weekend parade of large rock trucks filled in every few minutes to dump their loads down a steep outside bank turn bordered by concrete retaining wall, jersey wall. The boss-man allowed me to roll along the three foot foothold between the wall and the sheer drop to the fresh rip-rap far below. At moments like these I don't have the luxury of giving in to my crippling fear of heights.the World is depending on me to balance it along the edge to safety. At the days end a man and his grandchildren picked us up to save the World from the narrow bridge before Bandon. It was close to nightfall and he wouldn't stop until we got to his house at the edge of town. I had walked 19 miles or so. I complained with a wink and a smile.
This brings us to Saturday night. I am writing this on Monday. It took all day Sunday and until lunch on Monday to walk about fifteen miles. The Sunday afternoon travelers had time to stop and talk. Talk they did, and I talked back only making it half the distance to Langlois where I stayed the night at Art101, an organization that collects shore debris that washes up and makes art from it. We all should do our part to maintain the world. Monday had few visitors. People were commuting to work or driving back from the weekend escape. Just as I approached Langlois I was stopped by the county police. They had received more complaints of the man in the road with the World. Again I was informed about the state law that prohibits anyone, at any time from crossing the white line. A 24-7 imaginary wall to keep motorist safe from dangerous pedestrians. He thanked me for being so cooperative and I asked him to please send the word "up the line" that it is not my intention to be charged with disorderly conduct and if the flow of calls gets to be too much to let them know I will "cease and desist" if told to do so. After five thousand miles my being given a pass to skip to the California border after walking hundreds of miles in Oregon will not hurt my feelings. Time will tell.
This to shall pass.
Be calm, breath.
Don't look too far ahaead and loose sight of the step you take next.
Walk a little, for your health.

No comments: