> Must be your lucky day, Lucky from Humptulip (yes, this is the name of a real town!) said to me as he handed me a holster for the pepper spray his friend had just given me. >
> Cindy, tanned and with long black hair to her butt, from the gas station a few blocks down had sent me there saying, You shoulda had it when you left home, gal! >
> Max at the harbor in Ilwaca was the first to really put the idea in my head, but it was confirmed after my afternoon experience in Aberdeen. >
> Granted, the choice to not bring pepper spray was a conscious one (and, actually, searching last night for nail clippers I did find a small bottle I had forgotten about) and up until this point I haven’t felt the need for it. However, with all of this new advice from well-intentioned folks, the feeling that the Peninsula is less populated with more space in between rides and less cyclists in general, and my choice to possibly stealth camp, I decided it would be a good idea. And, after the Aberdeen experience, I felt creeped out and in need of more protection. >
> What can seem like a synchronistic experience can really be a test. As an acquaintance of mine said to me last summer at a bar in Bloomington (as we all sat there uncharacteristically painted with deep red lipstick), Sometimes the ones who seem nice are not really the nice ones. That’s a simplistic and reductionistic way to put it. Let me explain. >
> As I’m talking to this slight woman in her 70s with a Betty Boop sweatshirt on outside of the farmstand/deli, I mention I went to Indiana university. From across the pears, local garlics and organic peaches I hear, So did I! >
> An older white haired man says, I’m coming over. We have got to talk! >
> Turns out, not only did he go to IU, but he also went to butler university, and was born in Indiana (same as me- fat chance in Washington!). In the course of conversation, I learn that he was a zoology professor, a school administrator and a dean of a big school. Thinking, what a happy chance to bump into this guy!, the conversation continues. >
> He advises me to change my route out towards the coast and shows me a road back inland that I hadn’t seen before. As he’s reaching over the map, he completely destroys any sense of normal physical boundaries and is practically leaning into my lap as I sit on the picnic table eating my sauerkraut and cheese sandwich with one hand and pointing alongside him at the map with the other. Taken off guard at his choice of body placement, I move my leg over and hop off the table. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable inside, like a wild animal is in my body, or like a twister is stirring. >
> He invites me to stay in his yard, and, all in all, his route suggestions and yard invitation do make sense, from a rational perspective. So I say I’ll think about it, get his number and directions and head off. Shortly after I stop and consult inwardly with what I want to do. The voice inhabiting my whole body is very strong against not going, but a mind voice is still weighing the options. The body voice wins out, even if the inland route will be more hilly and I won’t get to see the scenic coast. I can’t go against my feeling. >
> The night before I’d stopped in the town of South Bend (in part because I once lived in a town with the same name in Indiana and because the ripped out Washington bike book section Becca gave me called it a charming town) and, as it was almost dark, I saw two people exit a church and quickly asked them if I could sleep in their lawn. They said yes and I set up camp at the edge of the church. Nearly dark, Aaragon, a baptist pastor, and I begin a religio-spiritual conversation. >
> A very kind guy, we get share authors we have in common (I grew up in a Christian home and school and was going to be a missionary before a big life shift so I have quite a few points to trade with him on this matter). Eventually, he asks me if I would say that I have a relationship with the Lord (golly, I haven’t heard it called that for quite some time!), and, as I try to articulate what I haven’t tried to summate in years, I find that I speak a lot about my relationship with the divine in terms of my body, choosing the word incarnate especially. Discovering that my main source of contact with All-that-is is my body, my energy centers and through my senses, it literally makes sense to me that in bringing spirit into flesh (in-carnation), the spirit- in-flesh understands being in a felt way. This is different than a completely rational (which our western culture favors) perspective. >
> Talk about living words! I was reminded of this conversation as I pondered over the lesson of my encounter with the Hoosier. My feeling, echoing biblical words of I will never leave you nor forsake you, was so strong within myself that I knew I could not, would not compromise myself, my felt sense. I learned through this experience that I am completely committed to mySelf, to my inner voice and listening to and following it. >
> Who can say what the experience with the Hoosier would’ve been like. My sense is that he just wanted more connection/closeness than I was willing to share with him and it would’ve been an evening of setting boundaries and trying to create space from him. >
> In the end, last night, near the Quinault lake, I had a wonderful time with lady Saff from Olympia (with whom I share mutual friend Michael Ismerio!)as we shared a site and howled into the night.(