Monday, February 4, 2008

A long walk

I want to tell you about a remarkable journey which I feel part of if only a tiny bit.

In March of 2006 a gentleman walked into our little town. We had never heard of Jesse WhiteCrow, but soon he was part of us.

We had a great two or three days with him. I invited him to have lunch with the NSN staff. They didn't seem to see the storyteller I saw. He doesn't do it like others. People who do it outside the box are always suspect by those who live in the box.

I have followed Jesse's journey these last almost two years. When I read his last blog entry, I wanted to hop on the next flight and be there with him when he takes those last steps. That won't happen, but I'll be there with him.

If you would like to read about this remarkable journey, you can find the blog at Just click on the blog link. I'm trying to find the photos we tokk then.

I'm including his post about that time in March 2005 and his last post. Hope it whets your interest.

17 March 2006

Living In Pictures, Jonesborough TN
Black clouds move their chairs over this Norman Rockwell town, preparing to sit and give up a bit of rain. From the Cranberry Thistle Coffee Shop in downtown Jonesborough I sip their brew of beans as I have every morning for three days. They are very kind, trying to feed my pack as much coffee as they pour in me. I'll love the fresh beans on the trail. As I write, Nancy whisper's to locals about what the walker at the computer screen is doing after he passes through their town. My feet are wiser dogs now. They lie under the table and sleep while they can. They stretch, yawn, and then roll from one side to the other. Dogs know when the rain is coming. Words more than clouds of black hold me in this wicker chair. It is the first week of camp and I am in love more than this trail heart can bear. Trouble is that I am so over stimulated I don't know which pretty girl to carve out my heart for. Yesterday I walked these streets of photogenic facades feeling like I was home in Stockbridge Ma, or Great Barrington. I walked into The Lollipop Shop on Main to look at all the treats, and vintage reproduction children's peddle carts and trikes. Grabbing a handful of dark chocolate, I made for the register. My pack was back at the Franklin House, so this man didn't know my face or story. With a tender smile the older gentleman simple said, "No charge." With my feet under this desk I am still running way ahead of myself.

This town was not a notch on my compass. Coffee. The magic walking bean became my magnetic pull that made my inner needle wiggle. "OLDEST TOWN IN TENN." Thats how the sign read as I broke from intent to desire. On the right as I came into history I saw a library on the right. Many days had passed since I had last found a computer. A week? Tapping computer keys was another fix that I needed to fill.At the counter of the library I gave a quick introduction, never sure how I'll be recieved. It was not the laying out of words with thought. As a cowboy claps the dust across his pant legs with his leather gloves before entering a house from the trail, I have words that I clap against my sleaves to take the road from my shirt. Quickly, questions come to me from the ladies gathered at the back tables. There are many smiles. Smiles are good. At a computer screen that still reflected me pulling notes from my journal bag, I had two invitations for lunch from separate locals. The library ladies asked first so I was to become their guest of honor. Dona called reporters until they came with pens pulled from behind their ears. Dona called them all. Through a lunch of still warm fries, and barbeque chicken on a toasted roll I told stories that pulled half a dozen women away from the table, past the creeks, to where the moose still runs. We talked about snow. We talked about the change of a man, moving toward purpose.

Before lunch was over, Dona offered me a room at her bed and breakfast up the hill. I returned to the computer after press pictures flashed, and Dona gave me directions to The Franklin House, an 1840's house that she rebuilt with her husband Charles with sweat and love. An hour into being in Jonesborough and I had two separate offers to spend the night. Again Dona was first, so I became her guest.Bed and breakfasts are God's gift to the traveling man and woman that acke for grandmother's smells, a mother's attentive coil of deep towels by the bathroom sink, and meals that made you want to pray while you ate even though you just said grace. The Franklin House moved one night into another, and then slipped another under the door while I slept, or was it while I walked through these streets that made me want to collect all those I love in my eyes so they too could see this town too without the hurdles of my words. History came here to visit, then decided to stay. Jonesborough was a pretty girl winking at me, as her hand found mine under the table while her mother served me pie.Last night, Chuck, Dona and myself had to chew quickly though our dinner at the Dogwood Lane Resturant, which of course is a cruel sin when the mouth begs to linger over flavors the mind forgot existed. We had to get to a poetry reading, and talk at the town's visitor's center. George Ella Lyon, who was also staying at the Franklin House, was the award winning poet we were quickening to see.

01 February 2008

Walking Down
Although I climb now into Mount Rainer before again hooking toward the
western coast, I am winding down the walk to Cape Flattery on the Washington
N.W. coastal point. In approx. 5 weeks the walk will be over except for the last
ten to twenty miles to be shared. (Of course this date will be fine tuned as I
leave the land of extreme weather for the coast of rain so completion plans can
be made.) All are welcome from across America to come and walk this last day(or
as much as your comfortable walking) as I take the last steps to the sea. Some
have already made plans, and there are those that would love to be there but are
unable. I will be beyond thrilled to walk the last miles with those I have met
across this country of ours. Even if you are unable to make the distance to
northern Washington I will carry names, faces, memories of all of you that have
shared your lives and personal America with me. This has been the walk based on
a child's dream. This has been the walk of a lifetime. I will update dates and
information as possible.

(Taken from the children's book Paddle To The Sea)

For that instant he looked like his own paddle.
There was a song in his heart.

It crept to his lips.
But only the wind and the water could hear.
You little traveler, you made the journey, the long journey.
You know things I have yet to know you little traveler.
You are given a name , a true name in my father's lodge.
Good medicine little traveler.
You are truely a paddle person.

(As read by Chris in the Morning, KBHR radio, 'Northern Exposure' ep. The
Final Frontier / Paddle To The Sea) posted by WhiteCrowWalking @ 3:33 PM

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