Sunday, May 17, 2015

BonDeCroft to Crossville

There was a good chance for rain sometime during the day, so I carried my little tent. I could erect it quickly, in the case we were far from shelter, when a downpour came.
On my earlier walks I would carry it always. One day I realized I had carried the tent over one thousand miles without using it. There would invariably be a shelter, or a person would appear, they would provide us a ride the few miles back to the van or take us in until the rain ended. I decided to have a little faith and stopped carrying it.
The threat of rain led me to be cautious so I put the tent in my pack. The few extra pounds felt as heavy as a house when I began, though at times the pack weighs much more. I soon forgot about it after we started out in the dark.
I rolled out for the last hours of darkness on the open road before daybreak to avoid the morning rush of traffic and the occasional roadside conversation. We traveled a few miles before the road became busy or people began to pull off to talk or slow to take a picture.
It was well after ten o'clock when the rain began. We were directed to a building by a man who had brought me breakfast by the roadside. The building by the intersection to the town of Pleasant Hill. The structure looked like it had been an old gasoline station, now used for storage. It had an overhang that provided Nice (the dog) and I just enough room to stay dry. The rain became heavy, the cars on the highway threw up thick clouds of water in their wake. I was scanning the area for a place to erect my tiny house when a man, his wife and her mother stopped for a visit under the awning. The couples son is a type-1 diabetic and they wanted to say hello. We talked a bit before the man rode me back the few miles to the van while the ladies stayed with Nice and the world. A few minutes later Nice was comfortably relaxing in his captains chair. The man then stopped at home to get their son and we had a picture taken in front of the world before they left.
Once again, I had carried the tent, for physical therapy, without needing to use it.
Soon the tapping of rain on the roof of the van lulled me into napping for an hour or so. I was awakened when a man came tapping on my raindrop speckled window. He had seen us the previous day but was unable to stop and wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to talk. I was refreshed from the nap, so talk I did. Soon he knew my life story and the dog's too.
With his phone we checked the progress of the rain clouds with his GPS. It looked as if there would be a break so I prepared to resume since the man had offered assistance when I was near Crossville, I thought I might risk it again between cloud fronts.
It was still raining slightly and Nice (the dog) looked at me with wide eyes. I plied him with bologna that someone had given me, to no avail. He was not getting out of his comfy spot. For the first time, I left him in the van. It was sure to be overcast with clouds the rest of the day, had I not taken the chance I would have stayed on the van with him anyway. Leaving the windows open,with water and food, I left him. I felt guilty, he put his head down and closed his eyes.
I walked through Pleasant Hill then back on the main highway, still carrying the tent just in case. It stayed cloudy all day but the rain stayed away.
When I finally got back to the van Nice hadn't moved.
Back in Crossville, one of the first things I did was open my backpack to take out the tent.
It may seem foolhardy to believe the planets will align all the time but it is no reason to carry a house on your back, just In case some rain should fall.

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