Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016 - From L.A. to Boston


There are times when I just want to start walking and keep on walking and never stop.  Well, stop to eat and sleep, of course, but then get up and start walking again.  It’s as if a voice is calling me, and it takes everything I’ve got to resist it.  Usually I hear it when I look off into the woods . . . or maybe it’s a field . . . or the beach.  I’m not sure, come to think of it.  Maybe it’s a certain way that I look at a scene, using another part of the eyes that we usually don’t use, the part that connects to the soul.

From Maine to ?

A few decades or so ago I met two people on bicycles.  They both had the same ragged t-shirt on that said “From L.A. to Boston.”  Of course, I had to know what it meant.  They explained that they had decided to bike across the country from Los Angeles, California to Boston, Massachusetts.  I pointed out that we weren’t in Boston, but they explained that they had already been there and had decided to continue on.

What an unlikely couple they were.  He was an “old man,” or so he seemed at the time, and she was 19 years old.  The trip had taken them a while, but they were smart to start in warmer weather.  I asked her if she was worried about missing college, and she told me that the college would still be there when she got back.  He was a college professor, so in retrospect I think she may have taken the college with her.

We talked for a while.  They entertained me with many interesting and fantastic stories about their trip.  They told me most people they had met were very friendly and that they were continually surprised and grateful for the generosity and kindness they had received.  They slept outside most of the time in a small tent, but often enough someone would invite them in for a dinner and let them have a shower and sleep on the couch.  Total strangers did this, and in return the couple would regale them with vivid stories of their adventure.  It was a good trade.

Eventually, they took off on their bikes and, of course, I never saw them again.  I can still see them both as plain as day in my mind, though.  I never forgot them, and for years I fancied that I would make the same trip myself, except in reverse.  But I never did.  I got busy with life and it just didn’t happen.  Still, I look out on fields or woods or beaches in that peculiar way, and I get that feeling and I just want to start walking and never ever stop.

Because, you know, there’s always an adventure out there.  There’s always a new story waiting to be told.  You just have to be brave enough to start out on the path.  I wish I could see them again and ask them about where their path ultimately led.  The “old man” may be dead by now, and the young girl is most certainly no longer young.  However, the college is still there, but that knowledge does not add to my comfort.

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