Today was our longest day yet—and though we are feeling it—we must be physically stronger because it doesn’t feel as hard to us as some of the days. My Health App says 21.5 miles. There were not a lot of little towns along the way to capture our attention today, and it was a bit of a forested walk, some up and some downhill. Sunny, dry, but cool. The morning was even cold. I am planning on getting some gloves as my hands felt frostbitten.
Last night we had a pleasant dinner with a Canadian couple, both retired. The husband in the couple retired about as recently as I did. They were delightful – she had been part of an academic program at a school near Vancouver that prepares people for careers in the wine industry. He was a recreational parks planner and consultant with various governmental agencies. As we began to talk to them we thought that surely this was the first big trip for them, but these folks have been traveling for years! They spent months driving an RV around Australia, and eight weeks in Southeast Asia (including bike rides though big cities and motorcycle touring). It was fun to hear tales of all they had done. But even more endearing was their kindness and listening hearts. I’ve seen it in more than one person from north of the border. Maybe people are like this everywhere, but I can’t help but have a soft spot for Canadians.
Some of you know that I am interested in design. I have never been smart or dedicated enough to study and work in industrial design or fields like it, but I am fascinated by how different cultures take on design issues. It is especially fun to see it in common objects. The kind of cup that is used for cafe con leche. The care given to even the most utilitarian fabrics. European plumbing and toilet fixtures. (Ask my brother Joe about this.) How a Spanish dumpster compares to ours. Next time you go to some place totally different, don’t complain that what you see is not like what you are used to, but imagine why a certain culture has solved a design problem in the way they have. It can be fun – even toilets!
Many of you have uploaded comments to this blog, and I want to thank you for that. You can’t imagine the encouragement they are to us. However, if you have paid attention, you know that I am not responding to your comments. That is intentional. I am really trying to stay in the moment and in this experience, so I am trying not to get into conversations that take me away from what I am seeing. I want to offer my thoughts to you as a gift (Lena is also doing so on Facebook), but I am trying to keep away from any dialogue at this point. Think of all we will have to discuss when we are together again…Please know that I really appreciate your encouragement and insights!
Finally, one thought from our walk yesterday…
May you have peace on yourself.