Sunday, December 30, 2012

Overnight stop.

I had a board meeting over the phone and we concluded it best to go south below the frost line. I drove to Bowling Green, found the WallyWorld and inflated the world. After gluing some of the patches that have loosened and darkness fell I tuned into the weather radio. It seems I have not gone far enough. The low temps will be in the twenties with rain and snow expected over the next days. The world is already frosting over from the moisture the sun didn't burn off. A few people stopped to ask what was up with the world so at least I got to get the message out while I was working the world over.

Frozen in Place

There is a first time for everything. This morning the world was frozen. The sweater for the dog has frozen from his playing in the snow. I discovered the distance to Bardstpwn is a few miles further than I thought. Wearing the big yellow "duck boots" cuts down my speed. On my best days twenty miles requires that I would need to start early and walk into the night. I am old, the world has it's pace over the bumps and brambles, that is the best I can do... On my best day. The canvas planet and every thing is frozen. This has not happened before, I can only wait for sunshine and warmth. Today is a good day to wait for sunshine and warmth. Perhaps a Chang of plans... Darn that spell check...
The world can only bear so much abuse.

This is not my best day for walking twenty miles.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Peace on Earth, a great thing to wake up to.

Getting to it

I walked away from the neighborhood where I stay. The drone of the expressway numbs from over the concrete wall three houses over. As the morning light defined the bare trees, all with some sort of animal nest, I settled into the quiet and wobbled the World past the darkened homes then out to the busy morning traffic. Knowing the streets in my hometown I took advantage of a few shortcuts out of town. I had it in mind to stop and give my son one last hug as I passed by his grandmothers home where he lives but he was at orientation for school. My missing him in that manner made me happier than an embrace. My brother and sister have been home for the holidays, possibly the last time in years we would all be here at the same time. My brother called as he was waiting to go to the plane. My sister appeared with her car full of memories to take with her and as we kissed and talked about the good in our life Bobby McFerron's " Don't worry be happy" came on the radio. We smiled at the timing and coincidence. I weaved through one last quiet neighborhood before the main road south out of the county where at the end of the day I was able to stay in the parking lot of Bootleg B-B-Q next to the bar. A friend helped me get the support van and I settled in for the night with a light snow falling. When I arose as it became light the world was covered in a coat of fresh snow, someone had etched a Peace symbol in the snow-cap. Peace on Earth...a good idea to wake up to. I put on my bright yellow rubber snow boots, slipped booties on Nice (the dog) and we began the first day ever in snow. The booties disappeared one by one as Nice frolicked in the snow. He doesn't like the boots so his playfulness increased as he lost them. From the B-B-Q we walked to Mt.Washington. To my surprise many people stopped to talk even with the slush. A woman came out from her house wearing flip-flops and a t shirt. She worked at a local hospital and knew well the ravages of diabetes. We shared stories concerning diabetes , good and bad, concluding some get it that diabetics need to do more than take their medications without changing bad habits that may have contributed to their condition and thrive by keeping and living healthy. Others stubbornly do not and suffer from their choice, so do their families left with memories. Their choice... After walking up a long hill pushing the waterlogged canvas world I was wet , I had to keep moving to stay warm.As I made my way to the south end of town I was pondering if I should press on and commit to another fifteen miles to the city of Bardstown which meant walking into the night on the narrow highway when a carload of women stopped. They had looked us up on the "net" and came for a picture. After a few questions and answers they offered to take us to the van. I was able to roll across to Walgreens and leave the world tied to a pole returning a few minutes later and get permission to stay on the property from the manager who coincidently had seen us "all over social media". Thanks to the grace of good people I was saved from my stubborn tendencies and can wait for the weather front to pass in the relative comfort of my support van. Fifteen miles is more realistic with a fresh start in tomorrows clearing skies.
All in all it was a good time to begin, despite the speed bumps.

Friday, December 28, 2012

South Bound

Read into it whatever you like.
I am beginning another hike .
Maybe way of Tennessee.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

An unexpected journey

Instead of driving the three miles to see The Hobbit where I will sit in the theatre for the length of the movie, I walked.
If I can talk the talk about daily exercise I can walk the walk.

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 12. 12

I inflated the world and walked with Nice and Toby ( the dogs ) hoping to find the little one a home. We walked all day what could have been 12 miles. We started at 12:12. Did not find Toby a home. I was sore to the core all night trying to sleep but it felt great to be so worn out again.

Toby needs a home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I have been to the mountaintop.

I took a drive to the top of Goat Mountain and even rode the elevator up the observation tower above Hot Springs. Before that I met up with a woman who had stopped the previous morning as I was readying to walk for the day. The purple van had caught her eye and the blue and green world tied to it was too much to resist. She brought me a small bucket of quartz crystals her late husband, a Native American had collected. West Arkansas is not only famous for its hot springs but it's rich crystal deposits and as I walked through the state II asked people about it. Some told me that Goat Mountain has been a place where native Americans revered as a place of spiritual importance. A short time before I arrived a large number of of locals and natives had gathered there for a hand-holding-moment to bring a sort of healing to the world. I was late for the "moment" but felt the healing power, real or imagined, of the area though the mountain was long ago taken from the Indians and was now part of the national park system. As with all the parks I have visited the throngs of visitors and necessary development have helped to both trample and preserve the beauty. Over the miles and years I have met those of many faiths by the side of the road. There is no denying the power of nature, whatever force I believe creates , assists and maintains.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The morning after

When I got out of the shower and took a good look at my heal any doubt that I should keep walking faded. A diamond of swelling wrapped the back of the foot. It was time to heal and enjoy the holidays. I wanted to see my son. Still, pride battled with reason and I was stuck in the middle to referee. There were two days until Thanksgiving, plenty of time to get back home and also view Hot Springs from the mountain park above. Or I could walk just a few miles each day, avoid the holiday traffic, not step in any holes, or run over bridges, scurry along ditch lines while walking across a national park hoping the foot would heal. (I struggled with this?) I put my socks on and winced as I slipped on the shoe.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The fork in the road

When I had made my way to the far side of Central Avenue, Hot Springs main attraction with shops, spas and hotels who's "hay day" roared in the 1920's, I stopped. The day had begun outside of town at a Subway. The day before we had started from the Subway by Hot Springs Village. There was a Subway at this fork in the road, so I walked in for a cup of soup and a sandwich. There I met a young couple who had talked to me earlier as I walked the tourist gauntlet of pictures and questions. With more time, they now told me of a friend who had passed away the previous day. A young man with diabetes who never took good care of his condition, had lost his leg a month before but still found his way to the bar. They had found out he had died as they walked in the local hospital to visit a relative when they met another childhood friend who had been there at the hospital when the mutual friend had passed. This was another of many similar stories I had heard across Arkansas, not just in that state, where the end could have been different. Maybe it was "their time" to go, we three were there at the counter ordering relatively healthy meals, I can use the dear lost friends as an example to remind me how important is to take better care of myself. I have a long way to go, I have many bad habits to change. (Holding on to them "kicking and screaming" like child being torn away from a toy covered in lead based paint.) I went out and sat on the curb to eat between the World with Nice (the dog) and relaxed. As I ate I reflected on the journey from West Memphis, the many people and things I have learned along the way. I had walked to come to terms with a death and by talking about it a thousand times I did feel better. I had succeeded in bringing attention to diabetes while processing the passing of my loved one but I had also injured my foot (I downplay the pain) and with Thanksgiving a few days away I decided it really was time to stop.
Deciding it was time to return home was one thing, that happening meant i had to get moving and have "faith" that decision was a good one. I stood up to get my backpack on and roll on to find a place to end the day when my ride appeared with the added bonus of a hopeful tale concerning diabetes. It was a couple, the wife was diabetic and the husband had lost a large amount of weight. They helped restore some balance to the day dominated by tales of lost hope and victims to diabetes. We loaded the world on their truck and I enjoyed hearing the man's story about being near death from obesity and finding faith in himself to "turn his world around". My foot had been stinging with pain so their offer to transport us , world and all, had perfect timing. Once back at the van I let the air out of the world, loaded it into the back and returned to the fork in the road where I parked for a few minutes then decided to drive away into the sunset. Just then a woman called, she invited me to meet her son and husband but first told me of the annual Chili Cook Off that was just a few blocks away. I drove there instead of hurrying out of Arkansas and waited for them to get there. The event started a few minutes after I arrived. The family showed up as I had eaten my fill of chili samples. They invited me to stay at their home to shower and rest till morning, they didn't have to ask me twice. The fourteen year old son had been type-1 diabetic since age eleven, a fine example of lifestyle management. The whole family changed their diet eliminating sugars, monitoring levels and being active. The disease runs in the family and the young man had relatives who gave him examples of what not do. His dedication was inspiring, at fourteen he had one of the best attitudes about it. With two great parents, help from his community and a strong Will he will strive. An interesting coincidence is the two men, my ride and the father of the boy with the strong will, had worked together for years. Though it was time to stop, by the days end I felt it was not yet time to leave.