Happy President’s Day — Vanessa

Monday February 21, 2011

Smithfield Meetinghouse where we slept last night. Quaker meetinghouse that’s been around since 1881.

I just had a shower, I just had my feet rubbed with citrus scented lotion, and I feel better than you could ever imagine.

Tonight we are back in Attleboro, MA. We had dinner at the Murray UU church, the same place we ate last year when we came through this town. It’s such a curious experience, seeing these people who I consider almost family, but who I have only seen once before in my life. And it’s so crazy to me that a whole year has gone by.

So the Attleboro UU Church: It is located on 505 N Main Street in Attleboro, MA. A location which for some reason I had extreme difficulty locating today. I used my GPS to check the walk route with Bruce and got us lost in the middle of Rhode Island or Massachusetts or someplace that was in the woods. I felt really bad, but we made it back in one piece so it’s all good.

I can’t remember her last name, but Sandra is the first name of the pastor of this church. It’s really exciting to see female ministers. Growing up I thought that was some kind of sacrilege, but this is the second night in the row that we stayed at the church of a female pastor.

We ate an incredible potluck dinner, and gathered around as we always do for community meetings.

Tonight has probably been my favorite night of the walk so far.

We didn’t have a huge group of people, but it was enough to have a nice conversation. When you get a group of people together that have reached certain conclusions about themselves and have a certain level of maturity you can have some really incredible dialogue. And that’s what I feel happened tonight. People were honest and felt comfortable enough with themselves and each other to ask good questions and just articulate themselves in an intelligent and respectful manner. It was nice.

Tonight I am writing from the condo of a woman who I stayed with last year. Her name is Linda. Last year, when the weather was a little bit warmer, Me, Christian, Betty and Lauren stayed here. It’s nice to come back to a semi-familiar place. My home for the evening. Last year we came to the conclusion that Mary Oliver is an outstanding poet and decided to read a few favorites. There were two that stuck with me, but the one I remembered most I’ll post at the bottom. Read it!!

Today was a strange day for me. I got extremely frustrated with myself. We had been walking for a few hours, I think it was around 11:45 am, and I found myself having trouble breathing. I have asthma, but I like to pretend that I don’t. It was really hard for me embracing that weakness. I tried to keep walking, but it felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t take a deep breath. I kept yawning, trying to take deeper breaths, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I knew that I needed my inhaler, so I called the support van and asked Betty to come pick me up. It was just really hard for me. I like to think that I don’t have any limitations – that I am unstoppable. And the realization that my only option was to sit in the van and try to breathe was awful. I felt like I had no control.

I used my inhaler and listened to music while Betty tried to find us a lunch spot.

We turned down a tiny, dead end road with a blocked off bridge at the end.

Betty has some kind of internal homing beacon for extraordinary citizens, and so following just a random hunch, she parked in front of this boarded up bridge, and got out of the car to knock on the door.

This is the kind of thing that happens at the beginning of horror movies. And while I was sitting in the car, something awful would happen to Betty. And I would only know when it was too late. But fortunately for me, my life is amazing, and instead of being a creep, the owner of this house was an artist.

His name was Michael and he invited us into his home for lunch.

It was a beautiful studio that was flooded with light. Looking out the windows you could see the river that ran under the bridge, surrounded by fresh snow. It was like a New England postcard.

Anyway, the rest of our day was grand. I’m tired so the things I’m saying don’t make too much sense. Tomorrow we stop in Swansea to visit an old friend for lunch, and I believe Bristol in the evening.

❤ I’m so excited that I am meeting all of these new people, and catching up with old friends. These are the people that will bring about the next nonviolent revolution.

These are the people that have the tools to change the world.
Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

(Also, I have been working with Hallal on my Spanish, and trying to write out the Arabic alphabet daily. Double thumbs up for linguistic activities!!)


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