February 19th, 2018

We spent the night at the youth center on the Lummi Nation reservation. Jeremiah, a young Shoshone man, led us in pray before we had breakfast.  it was cold and clear this morning. Well, it was cold for this part of the country. It was definitely long underwear weather.

Usually, an enterprise like the Longest Walk 5.3 uses a connect-the-dots process to make the journey. That means that end point of today’s stroll should be the starting point for tomorrow’s jaunt. Not this time. It appears that it is important for the walkers to visit as many Indian reservations as possible. This means we will have to move in a zigzag pattern, and it won’t be accomplished on foot. It means that we will have to drive sometimes. There is no way around that.

We only went about six miles today. We started at Boulevard Park in Bellingham. For awhile walked through an urban area, then we walked a road through a forest. Eventually, we walked past upscale homes near the sea. We ended at a parking area surrounded by firs, pines, and cedars. The State Patrol decided to visit us there. Somebody called to complain about the walk. That sort of thing is not unusual.

Owashdai, the Lakota spiritual leader talked to all of after today’s walk. He asked us to reflect on our walk and our prayer? What did we give to others today? What are our expectations from the walk? Owashdal encouraged us to let go of our expectations. They will only cause us disappointment. We should focus on the needs of the people. It sounded like good advice to me.

I talked with Ferdinand today. He was an Army medic during the first Iraq War. Ferdinand has lived around the world, and now he resides in San Francisco. I told Ferdinand about Hans’ war experiences. I also told him about the girl we love.

Ferdinand told me to use this walk to do interior work. He said,

“You  have to rid yourself of guilt that you feel. Work through your feelings and come out the other side. You can’t let your inner light shine on others until you do that. That is why you are here. This walk is for you to heal inside. He may be right.”

How do I reconcile what Owashdai said with Ferdinand’s guidance? The two paths seem to be on opposition to each other.

Or  maybe not. I don’t know. I’ll keep walking.



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