There is so much to tell about crossing this amazing and beautiful country of ours. Perhaps the best way is with pictures. After leaving South Dakota I followed the Lewis and Clark Trail down the Missouri River until it joined the Mississippi in St Louis. This photo of the “Dignity” statue was overlooking the Missouri at the South Dakota border. I now have the face of this statue on my new SD license plates. It is Sacajawea who accompanied Lewis and Clark. The “Dignity” statue says at the bottom its purpose is to “bring light to the beauty and promise of the indigenous peoples and cultures that still thrive on this land”.
After crossing the Mississippi River I crossed several others in that middle of our country and they were all so enormous it was just amazing to see all that water on the move. By the time I came to the Susquehana River I thought to measure it on my odometer. It was a mile wide and all of it moving fast in rapids. Everything was at the high water point of springtime I guess. One planned overnight campsite was even underwater along the Missouri. I saw a beautiful part of Nebraska along the eastern border, where lots of the farmers go camping with their families, and then run home morning and evening to do chores. I heard a lot of talk about tornados and huge hailstones from that crowd. My brother mentioned I was in “Tornado Alley” which made me want to push east in a big hurry. But the next thing was a heat wave. In Tennessee and Kentucky it was way too hot but I learned a lot of history, especially about the civil war, and re-connected with an old friend (and slept in her air conditioning).
After that, I had set up a meeting with my daughter and her partner in West Virginia, which was beautiful country but very impoverished, thanks to the coal industry owning most of the land there, or so I read. Below is a shot of the beautiful hills there, which were pretty hair-raising to drive over with my Scamp in tow. This is “Germany Valley”.
We had a wonderful time though, and thankfully it had cooled off. We stayed at Seneca Rocks WV, which is an area that attracts young rock climbers in droves. To the right you can see the rocks they love. Those rocks are only about 3 hours from Washington DC but the area is so poor and undeveloped that it seems like it would more likely be a thousand miles from a city.
After West Virginia I went straight to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania which was a huge contrast. To see the Amish farmers living so plainly (without cars, computers, tvs, etc) and being so infinitely more prosperous than anything I saw in West Virginia. I learned about the Amish there (what are they doing so right?), visited many historical areas and learned a lot more about the Civil War while crossing back and forth across the Mason Dixon line a few times.
This last photo is of an old iron furnace where they made bullets and cannons for the Revolutionary War!
Through all this traveling the sense of the importance of simply staying present has stayed as a priority, even as the details of figuring out where I’m going and staying all the time take a lot of my attention. I sometimes catch my thoughts going into looking for danger (like all the negative what-ifs of driving long distances for instance) but as these thoughts are being observed from a bit of a distance, the emotional reaction to them is much diminished. There is a place I watch them from that is not afraid of the dangers and is also ok with being on alert, taking precautions and being safe.
Now I am in Brattleboro Vermont where I lived for almost 30 years and where I raised my kids. So many people that I knew here are still here and I am having a wonderful time visiting and reconnecting. This is my current camp.
I am booked into to Thomas Huebl’s “Celebrate Life Festival” at Omega Institute which starts on the 12th of August, and I am going to be here in Vermont until then. The link to Thomas’ event is here. I would love to meet some of you there.
I am also using my extended time in Vermont to get working at the library on editing my third book which has the working title of “Exploring Deep Connection: A peer learning guide to learning to relate beyond ego”. It is my hope that I can make it short and to the point with a minimum of extraneous words on the subject. We’ll see. At least I’m working on it again now.