“Stop Children What’s that Sound?-Traveling with Forrest Gump

” Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid”

Song by Stephen Stills

Single released by Buffalo Springfield in 1966

This is the song on The Forrest Gump soundtrack that made me tear up.

“There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”

53 years later and turmoil continues. I’m more afraid because I have grandchild now. We still have divisions but they seem to becoming worse as time goes on. We have angry conflicts within groups and with other nations and increasing incidents of extreme weather events. Income inequality is growing and so is nastiness and name calling. Drug and alcohol use is skyrocketing and there is an uptick in suicides. Mass shootings in schools, places of worship, and in the workplace are are becoming more and more common.

“There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear”

We are evolving as a species in the realms of technology and innovation but there are deeply embedded quirks in our nature that haven’t advanced since our cave days. Does the “fight and flight” trigger continue to make us wary of those around us, especially those who are different? Is self preservation and self interest overriding empathy? Do we accumulate money not only to enjoy material things but to have power, dominance, and superiority over others?

I’m not absolved from this. I have done my share of bad things as a human being. But in this last chapter of my life, I’m searching to find the best in myself and in our species. I’m encouraged by those through history who believed “that injustice to one is injustice to all.” I pray that we can work together to guarantee that our common destiny is one filled with positive energy and purpose. This is my hope, especially for my grandkids.


“Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

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70 Days, 7000 Miles, Day 21

July 15, 2001

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I’m set up in The Cottonwood Campsite in Fort Smith, Montana where the US Post Office is in the laundromat.  You can fold your clothes and look at the wanted posters at the same time. And, when everything is finally all neat in your basket, you can buy some stamps and send a postcard.

Ugh! Men at the campsite!!  Get out of my face! Telling me I won’t be able to catch any fish unless I hire a guide! I was advised to pay  $200 a day  for one because I’m just wasting my time!

Am I bitter? Yes! Men fish for power, to unearth the secrets of the universe and conquer and overcome the wild beasts. I am very ticked off at these fishermen with their condescending, long winded B.S. The have been fishing all their lives while I have only known the sport sporadically. It frustrates me because I can sense the ways of river and the outdoors. I have a memory of it all from women ancestors long ago, an  instinct for it in my soul. Unfortunately, it is buried under years of domestic conditioning and  gender specific rules.

I want to fish even though I rarely catch anything.  I think it’s because there is a longing in me. A longing  to be be outdoors, to connect with nature, to understand the nature of nature, and to be a part of it rather than just an observer.

A guide is “someone with sufficient knowledge or understanding of a place (territory) or situation to assist another with the greatest efficiency in the least amount of time.” A fishing guide has years of hands-on experience. People who have more money than time pay for that knowledge. America is the nation of the quick fix. Unfortunately,  I have the time but not the money.  I guess I just need to practice more.

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Rhonda, the manager of the campgrounds, stopped by my site. I told her about all the fishing advice I received today and about my aversion to being lectured.  In my long 23 year marriage, I was belittled all the time and I still bristle when I’m put down.  I offer Rhonda wine in my new plastic camping wine glasses. We sit at my picnic table and she explained how important fishing is to these men and that they just want to help.  They take pride in their skill, she says, and in no way are trying to make me feel bad. She has come to know a lot of them and  likes them.  She is right,  I’m too quick to judge.  Maybe my divorce is still too fresh.

I wish Rhonda a good night. The coyotes howl in the Montana darkness.  I have gained so much this day, saved by a chance conversation over a glass of wine with a kind stranger. Ebbs and flow manifest themselves again.  A bad day turns into a darn good day with Rhonda’s  gift of compassionate insight. The balance is restored and the beauty enhanced by contrasts is once more renewed.

70 days,7000 miles, Days 15, 16, 17

July 7, 8, and 9, 2001

IMG_2395Made it through Wisconsin, Minnesota (“Land of a Thousand Bites”), and North Dakota. I traveled beautiful green landscapes and fast roads.  But I do believe the chamber of commerce adds a 1000 feet to each mile so we easterners don’t get discourage traveling these long, long distances between towns.

In New Salem, Wisconsin I had to stop and get a few pictures of Selma, the world’s largest cow (not real). Big she is, I could stand under her udders. That is, if I wanted to.

IMG_2394NPR is my constant companion. When I lost one station I was able to pick up another one down the road. I think I’ll have the equivalent of another college degree when I get home.

A segment on spirituality was very interesting. The speaker suggested that we  ry not to do things for results, like recognition, fame, and money but rather do them to become or be our ideal selves. I would like to be a famous writer someday. I have already imaged being  interviewed on news programs and signing my bestsellers at Borders. Do I write on a regular basis? No. I think there is a big disconnect here. Something to think about.

I made an observation yesterday. I saw a young teenage girl who reminded me of myself when I was young  because she was so self conscientious. Why do girls bend and scrape like minority characters in those horrible old racist movies? Why do I bend and scrape? Why am I, in certain situations, still shy and unconfident. Did my parents and society give me that role? Have I been socialized by the game masters in power? Are there rules not based on logic but on one-upmanship? Generational rules that continue to stand up against the tides of time and change? It’s my fault as much as anyone’s. Why? Because I relinquished obediently and continued to participate. At 52, I need to stop.  I have the right and the sources now to join the ranks of the game masters and write new rules.  I’m not asking for a revolution but rather an evolution of expectations. It is something we must all be aware of and work towards.

In the Victorian era, a woman was not allowed to travel alone without an escort. Well, today July 9, 2001, I’m over a 1000 miles from home, alone. Thank you to all those in history who changed the rules about woman travelers and gave me the freedom I’m enjoying today.