Day 5

Day 5 is dedicated to the animals of this unfathomable body of water I am traveling beside. Like the critters, microbes and mycelium of the earth, they connect, communicate and create, the ocean. These creatures of the sea are every bit as affected and endangered by our fast, unconscious lifestyle as their land-based counterparts. They are hit and killed by boats, entangled in plastic and other trash, and incalculably harmed by the atmospheric, ocean ph, toxic chemical and other factors that we humans impose.

On a more spiritual level, the ocean represents the subconscious of the human mind. It is where we must go to heal ourselves, because it is where our imbalances begin. When we are not conscious of the foundational origins of our problems, like inexperienced gardeners we spray or snip the weeds above the roots. This is what we are doing when we medicate or surgically alter our bodies, or enact laws rather than dealing with underlying issues.

Each night it seems that sleep will not possibly restore me, but even though my son’s little camp mattress deflates within the hour, leaving me pressed close to the earth I somehow awaken revived and ready with each new light of the sun. Most nights  provide me with an hour or two of meditation in the still, silent center. Maybe that’s why. No doubt it also helps that I’m keeping my diet and attitude impeccably to what which I know nourishes me.

I awoke this morning ensconced in a deer nest in the grasses south of Gualala. I have been experimenting with different configurations of bivy and tarp, but have still not managed to avoid waking up soaked. The night/morning fog has become progressively and dramatically more dense as I move north. Cramming a wet, down sleeping bag will destroy it, so I got a late start as I spread gear in the sun to dry.

I stepped out at the crack of 11, under full sail (signage) into a stout headwind, which built throughout the day.
Passing through the busy coastal town of Gualala and into Mendocino county, a woman leaned out of her van window and called, “We’ll see you there!” Sister, you made my day.

I am so lightened by the many people I pass who smile, wave, honk, thumbs-up, even turn around in their busy days or catch up with me when I’m resting, to talk to me. They want to know what I’m doing, and why—even not knowing, they are inspired and imagine that it’s something great. Sarah, a recent transplant from SoCal, turned around to wait for me saying, “I wanted to read your sign. I knew you must be doing something amazing.” She had never heard of Symposium, but she’s following it now.

And there’s even the few women who are familiar—they know who I am and what I’m doing, and the love and support of or circle shines through.

In case I give the wrong impression, today was not all sunshine, jubilant connections, and roses. The wind, steady all day, picked up to gale force as I honed in on Point Arena. The last 6-7 miles were brutal, leaning in to press forward with each step. With a drop-off cliff or a wall of poison oak on one side and 80 mph traffic on the other, it was tricky not to be blown off my narrow margin of safety. My sign took a real beating—I haven’t assessed the damage yet. The last couple miles the fog rolled in thick, soaking and chilling me and necessitating regular windshield wiping of my glasses.

Oddly, the song Graceland (Paul Simon) has been in my head this whole trip. At the beginning, thinking about the lack of male mentoring our sons often receive, it was, “Who’ll be my role model, now that my role model is gone…”
The last few miles of today’s walk it was, “I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.” It least my complaining mind has a sense of humor. I am amused.