I entered Nebraska this morning at 6:45 a.m. the sun was hidden behind gray clouds yet the air was thick with humidity. It is familiar to me. Growing up in rural, northern Illinois, one never really escapes the summer heat and it has stayed with me over the years, buried deep in the memories that run through my body.
The smells of corn, tall and green fill my nose. There are random feed trucks that go by and wisps of hay flutter across the road. I know I am far away from where I grew up but if I close my eyes I could very well be there. I have spent much time this last week pondering 3 subjects: Life, Love and Luck…..so I have looked at them and how they pertain to this trip.
I have been blessed each day with eyes that see everything as I move at a snails pace down the road. From ocean swells on the Pacific the day I left to the rainbow that appeared after the first flag was placed. Lakes and rivers and open fields of wheat lay stretched out before me. I see far away mountain ranges with snow topped peaks and aspen trees that shudder in the wind. I hear crickets and birds and silence is truly golden even when broken by the sounds of cattle as the gaze intently at me. This life on the road is a pandoras box of emotion. I see wet eyes and feel the sadness as a former Marine in his 70s places a flag and salutes with me.
I have had tremendous love out here. I feel it grow stronger for the country and this project as the miles grow. I feel it for the woman in my life whose kind heart and compassion and thoughtfulness radiates from her even though she is miles away. I awake each morning and absolutely love starting the day and running these miles and sharing it with each name I read.
My luck has been eerily consistent. There are times when I have just missed bad weather. Times when traffic disappears when I need it to vanish the most. Times when the sun slips behind the clouds and the temperature recedes.When my legs feel like they did 30 years ago and when, more often than not, a porta potty will magically appear. I have had the luck if you call it, of meeting the most amazing people in this rural America and hearing their stories and the history of their small towns.
Why do I talk of these things? Why ponder over 3 little words?
Last week as I left Golden I pulled off the side of the road to a small spot of gravel to add some water to my bottles. When I finished I happened to look down on the ground and caught the glint of silver in the sun. Near my stroller were 3 tiny pendants. The chain they were on was long gone and they looked like they had been on the ground a while. Each one had one word on it.
Life, Love, Luck………………
Of all the miles, all the random 30 second stops, all the places I could have pulled over that morning, it was that place that I chose to stop and it had a message for me in the form of those pendants……………