“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I want to know how to take a walk. I love this quote and have come to feel it suits taking a road trip just fine as well. On a road trip spanning eighteen days so far, we need to stop every so often, and take a walk too. Amidst wonder-full reunions with friends and family along our journey, we’ve paused to take in land and waterscape, and even some historical sites.

Lots of family history. First speed boat rides with my Grandpa on this lake. I can still feel the adrenaline rush of wind and water when he let me sit at the bow.

Since I last wrote you all another 1300 miles has been traversed, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, bringing us to a grand total of 3300 miles cross country so far, and now, we have reached our turning point. Ohio has always been a turning point in my life. This trip’s way of it has been akin to the turning of soil, unearthing more than I realized was needed—so grateful for all of this, and for my traveling companions through. it. all. Who knew the soul-friends I was growing right in my own house?

Five of my six at KC Zoo —thanks Sydney!
So good to have this one back on my camera roll.

May I share some of my notes with you? This trip has metaphorically and literally been a story of light bending and reflecting, a remembrance of roots and inheritance, of optical illusions verses certainty, a recognition that even mirages have reflections. Did you know that you can watch cars pass by on the other side of the highway through the mirages on your side of the highway. wow. In all of this, I keep praying, may we have eyes that see.

“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment…” -John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

I love these soulful words, and I also recognize in them the painful need for discerning between reflection within mirage or materiality, for discerning that materiality is sometimes mirage and that sometimes Heaven will only be understood with hands! What a wise Creator we have to give us a genesis in a garden to tend.

On this trip I’ve gotten glimpses of my own soul amnesia.  After living with the Washougal River for almost two years, sometimes when I leave the house I can still hear it in my imagination, and sometimes I don’t think of it at all. It was over 2000 miles away from home when my sister-in-law took us to a waterfall and I realized my ears were sore for the sound. How had I forgotten so easily? When had the imaginative rehearsing stopped?

“Encourage one another daily, while it is still called today…”

In this I glimpsed a tender reflection of our need for one another once again. I have perceived more keenly on this trip how reflecting is what we are all doing, all of the time. What a joy, what an invitation to consider: Do I witness to others their glory, am I even conscious of their magnificence? This is not idol worship, this is seeing our opportune time to live alive in wonder. In fact, not seeing these treasures may be exactly what does lead us to spending our precious time on “…dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers”.

I’m sending this out to you today from our family tent on my parents land.

“I write to understand as much as to be understood.” -Elie Wiesel

I had been so wanting to be within the long days of Midwest summer, I remembered the heat that I loved, yet I had forgotten about the reality of the humidity’s ability to steal breath away. Nonetheless, I have loved it. I missed the shrill of the cicadas, I had forgotten how loud they are, or how coy-wolves sound like a fraternity party way too close to home with all their rising and falling howls and legit screams. Nonetheless, it is all endeared to me. I have missed these stars and I have been drinking them in.

I know better through this trip the way that the land of our birth prepares us for the land of our sojourn. I hold it all so close even as I am already preparing to say goodbye once again. This kills me as much as enlivens me, it enlivens me because it slays what needed to be let go.

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” —C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

As for all my people though, my dear family and friends, they are present and they teach me these things. They love me and even after I drive down the road away from them I am carrying their love and going to places they will not physically go and I do this in order to give it away—because that’s what love is for.

Rich Mullins called the road a woman, and so many days and nights of this trip that woman has been me—I’m all inside myself, traveling my backroads and my highways, for hours, late late into the night into the morning, and all I hear and see is I love you. I remember like a chorus to a song how when I didn’t know whether to embark on this trip or not I heard, I want you to know Me.

“And everywhere I go, I see You.” —Rich Mullins, I See You

The word hope is round in our mouths when we sing it. It is like the road and the walks and the loves, it is designed to move, to roll on and on, to be given away, to hold, to grow and become and unfurl and,   

“Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. The tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to distinguish between day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day.” —Elie Wiesel, Dawn

This trip has given me time to marinate in my family’s voices, my mother’s, sisters’, and my aunts’ accents I never quite heard the way I do now, their common threads to one another, their being-ness inside of me—no matter how far I go away or they from me. It has allowed me time to read and contemplate other’s words, even as I know all these things I am beholding are also becoming a deeper part of me.

At one point, I watched a Daddy Long Leg’s silhouette crawl slowly across the roof of my tent in the morning sun and it was then that I knew the hush in this trip had come. This was the unspoken space in this trip where I would listen again to all that has been sinking into my ears and all that has been passing me by. “…good silence and nothing too much.”

There’s a kingdom before us/Whose gate is always open/ Looks like earth and sounds like human voices/And it feels like Heaven —Christa Wells, Holy Ground

I began to listen to the locusts and the crickets in the evening as the sun sank in the back pastures where my son and I walked in the tens of thousands of footsteps of my dad before us. I heard the music of the catydids and cicadas after nightfall as we also had time to muse over the way we had both observed how one dead-stops right before the other begins. The order in the seeming cacophony softens and compels my heart to listen again—to everything!

I was brought, in my mind, into the sanctuary of my sister’s home where I had only a few days before listened to my niece and daughter sing and play music together before we left Kansas City, I laid there on the couch soaking in the vibrations and whole sounds of double stops on the cello and I breathed deep, and this is what I knew, Love endures, all else will fade away.

a most favorite Ohio walk at Bergamo

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve taken so many walks together now, thank you for staying with me while I learn how and for learning with me. I treasure your company.


P.S. I love to hear from you, in the comments, in an email. Where are you? Thank you for traveling with me!

I’m glad you’re here. Subscribe to receive my posts in your inbox, and I’ll send ya my poem, Bound by Light.To have a companion in prayer, check out my book, Pray, Like a Woman in Labor here.

(bio photo this week: my oldest son and only daughter, my faithful copilots these past weeks)

Read previous post here, Unbounded (Interlude)

P.P.S I’ve got another song for ya too: Holy Ground by Christa Wells