Friends and Neighbors.
I told bits of this story in my blog some time after the incident happened, but I think it bears repeating, expanding and offering to a wider audience.
It was in the middle of a September day in southwestern Montana. I was making good time on my trek. The highway had a wide shoulder, the sky was clear, the weather was warm and the countryside was gorgeous. I took deep breaths, did a few skipping steps and then slowed to make a couple 360-degree turns and take in the panorama of nature - divided though it was by an asphalt highway. It was one of those days when the wonder of IT ALL and my being IN THE MIDDLE OF IT just hit me. I yelled and hooted, "Yehaaaa! Ain't it grand! Go God! You do great work."
Would that I could keep that sense and thought all the time.
For the past few days, I had been cogitating on my Walk and my friend Fannie the Flag more than usual. I had had the emblem of One Star overlaid with a Golden Heart on the Blue Canton of an otherwise typical-looking American Flag as my logo and traveling companion for many years. Still, its meaning continued to change and expand a little here and a little there - maybe as I did.
I had my basic slogan for the 2012 trip:
• One Nation Under God -- God Is Love -- Love One Another
But, I felt I needed an even briefer and less churchy line to share when asked about the Flag and my Walk.
Considering that question, it was easy to come to the One Star standing for UNITY. "But, what exactly does the Heart signify - in one word?"
It didn't take too very long for the answer to arise. Seek, knock, ask.
I had been asking in different ways when I was walking that glorious day down Highway 287 south of Cameron. Traffic was modest, truck and car. Rare was it to see a motorcycle except on one weekend a few days past. Bicycles and pedestrians were next to non-existent.
But, ah, there in the distance was a bicyclist, a loner coming toward me in my lane, on my shoulder. For a moment, I thought should I cede the lane or wait and see what happens?
Well, then, "it is easier for me to navigate than the cycler." So, I began to walk on the gravel as the biker got closer.
Before too long, we met. The whole encounter lasted but a couple minutes. When it was over, I thought, "I should have said this, I should have asked that." Still, I got quite a bit.
My eyes told me, "I am looking at lone young woman on her bicycle, wearing a colorful scarf around her headgear and blue gloves that look like they were made for kitchen work not outdoor endeavors. She also has company of a little dog in the front wire basket. It all reminds me of Dorothy and Toto in the Wizard of Oz."
We exchanged greetings. I told her a bit about my expedition and I got back that my new friend was driving with her canine companion from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to Seattle, Washington. She was going to visit friends, then turn around and return to Colorado where she worked as a bus driver.
I was more than a bit surprised to see a lone woman and her dog driving hundreds of miles on her bicycle across Montana. My own expedition seemed almost tame in some ways. I said something to that effect.
But, the young woman responded, "Oh, walking is really a much purer sort of thing to do. I admire you."
To top off our short conversation, I took a single photo of the woman and her dog. I also got their names.
The woman is called Amity and her dog is named Runaway.
Almost immediately, I knew what the other half of the new flag slogan would be.
Fannie the Flag and Walkabouts henceforth will carry the title of Amity and Unity.
Would that I had the presence of mind to share that with Amity, would that I had gotten her mailing address, would that I had taken more time, etc.
Amity and Unity to you and your world,