Weathering Storms -- Week 3

We still are working without a camp manager or other support. It means that we have been, sometimes, traveling the same piece of ground three or more times in a day (via walking, biking, and trucking) in order to get to and from camp and wherever it is that we are in our walk. This week we decided that we feel that it is currently reasonable for us to subtract miles paced in a city from miles paced between cities. We still prefer to walk the entire distance between towns, but that form of pacing was not feasible for us during much of this week, particularly because of the rain. And the rain. Oh, and the rain, too. When there is a break between storms we can get out there, with the kids, and walk. And when we see the next storm starting to blow in...we can race-pace back to camp! 

Walking in the cities is pacing for a larger audience, and we get a lot more feedback from those people who encounter us. In the countryside, people are typically less curious about what we're up to, usually more than happy to give a half wave or a nod and keep on driving. City folk are more willing to gawk or honk with a thumbs up...or perhaps another finger. No, actually the only time we've seen that finger so far was a from an entire car full of Mennonite teenagers in Missouri. Perhaps their parents are reading this article. Other Mennonite young people from the same county yelled out to us from another vehicle to "Get a Horse!"  :)

Dana's foot protested our pacing this week...she had to "take it easy" at the beginning of the week while the minor swelling subsided and while she spent time researching her condition and developing her healing strategies. She is now using a brace at night, and a toe-spacer in her shoes for pacing, and she has a good pair pf shoes coming in the mail.

We paced in Oskaloosa, Iowa this week, where we met with a lot of support...many small cash donations made by passers-by, and "20 questions" sessions initiated by others. We got a hotel room and dried out for two days, reorganized our bags and bins, made a repair on the wagon, and caught up on our blog.

An African-American senior citizen staying at our hotel took particular interest in our message and mission, and shared with us that, although he fully agreed that the current climate is producing far more violent weather than what he grew up with in Mississippi, he never imagined that he could personally do something about it, and he felt inspired by everything we were accomplishing. In his jovial way, he kept bouncing up to us, saying "Man! I have never -- never -- seen anything like this. You guys for real? I really got an education today! I want you to know that this is changing me."

As we walked away from Oskaloosa, a woman pulled over and gave us the friendly heads-up that there was a big storm coming straight for us (she pointed to the red areas on the storm radar which was displayed on her phone). Almost as she spoke, the huge purple bowling ball was rolling into view above the treeline. We were pretty well out into the country now. There was a farm just beside us, though, with a large, inviting porch and people securing their yard furniture against the storm. We decided that it made sense to ask for help this time.

Dana went down and explained our project and the coming rain and requested some form of shelter from this storm. And we were in luck! They put us *and our carts* up in a large tractor barn where we stayed dry and monitored the storm on our internet connection. Soon after they closed up all the doors, that storm beat down something fierce on the huge metal roof. I think those locals were shy about visiting with us much directly, but a young woman came in just before we left with a handwritten note from her grandmother: a request that we keep in touch and send her a letter when we make it back home.

We have now walked about 120 miles, and have made it to Pella, Iowa, where we are camping at Red Rock State Park. Our week ended with a 24hour flu. Dana caught it first and stayed at camp with Tillwyn (Moss was away with his Papa at this time), and so Gavain paced alone, battling storms and muddy gravel roads, solo. That night, Dana's fever broke so that she was able to take Tillwyn the next day while Gavain underwent his fever and then began his recovery. 

Earlier in the week, we were written up on the front page of the Ottumwa Courier after giving a presentation about the climate situation and this project at the high school there. The article was about the teaching opportunity that our project offered as a live example of *doing something* about the things that are important to us, rather than settling into complacency. The reporter took the opportunity to sit with Gavain for a *long time* (while Dana chased the toddler around the campus). He was very personally concerned and he asked Gavain great questions about the current science and about the politico-economic dynamics which are the noose around the throat of our species. As we parted ways, he warned us that the article would not do our message justice. And, to our dismay, our message about the dire timelines of the coming climate catastrophe was obscured in eerily familiar and sinfully confusing languaging. He wrote that we were doing this because of our "beliefs". And a paragraph was inserted to "balance" our "belief" saying that climate change is a matter of "much debate". I assure you, this reporter did not believe that climate change is actually under any scientific debate...he already knew that corporate America and the fossil fuel industries have paid scientist-lobbyists to sow confusion in society about the reality of climate change -- he didn't need us to inform him of that. Yet, clearly his newspaper is under the thumb of financial power, and untoward alliances. From his perspective, he must have done the best that he could to support our work.

So, it has been a week of being lashed about by industry-funded obfuscation, the weather, injury, and illness and yet...we are still at this, and we are getting better at it.