A Nearby Journey, One Country Road

Road horses

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”   Marcel Proust

Every  weekday morning before I retired, I drove to school down the same country road. You won’t find my route in any guidebooks. It is just an ordinary rural asphalt passage through Northern New York State. But to me, it is very special.  It is the beginning of all my journeys.  It is the path that always welcomes me home.

Road red sunset
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Over the years, I have come to appreciate the things I see on this road as much as I have been thrilled by the sights I have witnessed in Paris or The Rocky Mountains or any place I have traveled.

Road my tree
Road shad
Road Barn
Road winter
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I have learned to observe and appreciate.  This practice has brought me great joy.

Road rock
Road Dew

These pictures  were all taken four miles from my home during various times of year. I invite all my readers to look and really see the interesting things just down the road. Take time to stop. You may discovery some pretty extraordinary things.

70/7000 Conquering a Mountain and Maybe Myself

Day 47-August 11, 2001

Today I hiked with Jack and Henny, a very fit and active couple from the Netherlands.

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My time with this nice couple allowed me to ask questions about their lives in The Netherlands.  Henny works part time and engages in physical activity as much as she can.  Both she and Jack are into biking.  I got the feeling this is the norm for a lot of Europeans.

I did, however, feel inadequate being with them and found myself over compensating and competing.  I’m a sluggish American compared to them.  I felt an uneasiness and  some resentment, something I knew had childhood roots. This is a fault of mine that always takes away my peace and causes me to fear excellence in others.

At one point the path was a very thin ledge. At other times, all three of us needed to  silently focus on the trail.   In the quietness, I thought about how I should be thinner and more fit and that Jack and Henny were excellent role models for me. I may not be on their physical level but I’m still a good person.  One goal of this trip is to learn and live a life of acceptance.  I am who I am and that’s pretty darn good. I made it to The Tea House and maybe another step to a lasting insight.

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When we reached the bottom of the mountain again, Jack and Henny asked if I wanted to hike the next day. They were going to try a higher climb. I believe in squeezing the life out of everyday but was I pushing myself too hard?  I was exhausted.  I decided to listen to my instincts, that music in my soul that makes me who I am. I had mixed with the beautiful spirit of two wonderful people from the Netherlands but now it was time to become centered in my own rhythm, my own tempo.  I needed to be still and find my direction again because I can’t be all things.  I’m me and that is good enough.

I thanked Jack and Henny for their kindness and for sharing a great experience with me. I told them I would never forget them and this day.  (Author’s note-August 27, 2018- I never have.)

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70 Days, 7000 Miles, Day 20

July 12, 2001

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I went to The Little Big Horn National Park today.  I love the talks at The National Parks, the rangers really know their stuff and do great presentations. What I carried away today was how these Native Americans prepared spiritually for battle. Using a mirror they would carefully apply their  warpaint in such a way to enhance their confidence, pride, and strength. As they looked into the mirror they willed a good day, one of action and positive results. When they went to fight they wore their best clothes and focused their minds on victory instead of fear or death.  Their attitude was their greatest weapon.

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I try to take in as much as I can and when I returned to my campsite I was very tired.  I ate dinner, and read until dark.  In the glow of my Coleman lantern, I’m sheltered from the darkness. In my cocoon of light, I can’t see the rest of the world and I don’t care if the world sees me. I’m in my own little world, a creature of the light.  It defines me and holds me safe in its warmth.

It’s funny that I’m not really afraid of the dark.  So many times I have walked down my country road at night from, my neighbor, Leona’s house and back to my own home.  Is not being afraid of the dark a prerequisite for being free and being able to travel alone?

Here within the slower tempo of this trip,  I have time to think and question myself.  I seem to have  the strength and courage for big things but am I  brave enough to handle everyday conflicts and disagreements?  Have I really learned to effectively stand up for myself? I have fifty more days to figure it out.

Good night, Light. Good night, Darkness.

Dark

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Going to India

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India has been on my list of trips for awhile but what finally made me decide to go  was a Hindu celebration held  in St. Augustine in April.  I loved the color and joy I witnessed.  I told one of the participants about my travel list and was given prayer beads and enthusiastic encouragement to choose India.

I am a lifelong learner who knows little about Hinduism.  I have paid my deposit and reserved my place for “The Mystical India” tour with Odyssey Tours. I will be going in the fall.  After my 17 day trip, I will have many pictures and observations to share on this blog.

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