February 19, 2011
Gosh, I love alliteration.
Today we walked from Holden to Worcester, about 15 miles. The winds were blowing at around 25 miles per hour, and it was snowing sporadically. It was kind of insane. One minute, it was sunny and fine – the next, tempest winds blowing every which way and what appeared to be the beginning of a blizzard.
We left Ashburnham and the Timms’ house this morning in high spirits. Peter and Romayne were extraordinary hosts, and I’m sure we will see them again. Leaving their house we said goodbye to Blair and Ryan, two walkers I wish I had more time to get to know. They both had to leave, but Ryan assured me that they were, “Continuing the walk. Just in a different place, in a different way.” I hope they got home safely.
After leaving Ashburnham, we drove to Holden where we got out to begin our walk. The wind was furious, but we kept up a pretty steady pace. We stopped for a bathroom break and some (amaaazing) hot chocolate at the 122 Diner in Holden. There a woman named Cathy met up with us as we continued through Holden and into Worcester.
We walked until around 12:30 when we stopped at the Glendale YMCA for our lunch break. We were sitting in the lobby, right over the pool, looking down into the water. The temptation was so hard to resist! All I was thinking about, was how I would be able to get away with swimming.
One thing I love about these walks are the stories. It’s always so nice when we sit down in a strange place, to hear a new story from a familiar face. It’s funny because I’ve come to realize that everything is perspective. The same thing could happen to all of us, and if you asked us to recount the stories they would all be different. Each would have a different moral, a different protagonist and antagonist, and a different reasoning.
Anyway, today at lunch it was cold. We were hungry. The chemistry was good, and stories started to flow organically, as they often do.
We were looking down into the swimming pool, and I was voicing my desires to jump in. I adore swimming. I live for swimming. If I could swim every day, I would.
Well apparently Bruce is also a fan of activities in the water, and as we sat down, each of us insisting we were the better swimming, Bruce said, “You haven’t seen anything until you have been swimming in the water with alligators.”
A discussion about alligators and crocodiles ensued, and Kato Shonin asked geographically what the difference was. I asked him if he had ever seen a crocodile. He paused. And sat thoughtfully, looking ahead into space.
“Yes.” He said. “In West Africa.”
“It looked like a dragon”, he said.
I looked at him.
“Did you see one? Or many?”
He smiled, “One of many.”
Cathy left us after lunch and we continued on towards the school. This is the same school where we ate and were hosted last year by Kieran.
After an outstanding buffet of seemingly never ending food selections, we all gathered in a circle for a community meeting.
I love this part of the walk. It’s always funny to me, everyone is exhausted and usually we are repeating some of the same stories over and over again. But I think that’s part of the process. I think that’s how we become better speakers. By repeating these things over and over again, we leave out what’s not important. And we are able to better express ourselves in a more clear and concise manner.
Anyway, we started the night with an intro of what the walk’s purpose is, and a brief history of the pagoda.
We were talking about how to better relate to people of opposing views, and how to create peace. We also spoke about the wars going on right now, why we believe they are ongoing, and what it will take to stop them.
I love repeating this process again and again, night after night, because every new group of people generates new ideas. We virtually never get the same answers for people. People always have different ideas on why things are going on in their community, and how to change them. I really appreciated the things that were said tonight, and it was a nice welcome back into the peace walking lifestyle.
Also, after the community meeting Hallel and I were going over some Spanish and Japanese language books. They were both free, so I brought them with me. He speaks Spanish, so we had fun practicing. Anyway, I’m glad we’re getting along now. Quasi-friends or something. I hope I get to know him better during the rest of this walk.
Anyway, tonight I took millions of pictures and videos. I’ll have some up online somewhere at some point soon.