Day 5 – North Stratford to North Umberland
When you are not in an uncontrolled high level of pain, your body starts to unwind from the tight coiled protective position you had been in and it allows you to expand your boundaries. When pain decreases, you start noticing what’s going on around you. Outside of your body.
Such as it was for both of us on day 5. Being able to trust our legs and feet from not giving out on us, our heads rose and we were able to look around and really see.
What we saw was amazing.
Undergrowth that grew right to the side of the road threatening to reclaim what had once belonged to it.
A deer watching us watch it until it turned and bounded back into the woods.
A solitary stark red maple leaf lying on the road – a reliable portent of the approaching fall.
The dulled snap of rain first hitting a leaf and then sliding off to the muddied ground.
The smell. The smell of vibrancy, of growth, of organic decay – the smell of life.
Now that we could focus on something other than enduring pain, our conversations also expanded.
“If you could be a superhero what would your name be and what would be your super power?” Griffin asked me.
I thought about how in my life I’ve been most effective and how could I amplify that skill to super hero level.
“I’d be Motivational Mom and my power would be to inspire. I’d be able to motivate people to achieve what they didn’t think they could.”
Griffin rolled his eyes and chewed this over. I’m sure he thought I’d pick a super power like flying, or being able to hear everything, or super strength. I wasn’t sure it was what he was expecting.
“Well,” I said after a bit “what would you be?”
“I’d be Blister Man just so I could have a sidekick named Blister Boy. Our secret power would be that we’d be able to walk on anything because our feet would be protected by our blisters.”
Griffin had discovered another blister, bister #3 earlier that morning and so I knew that blisters were on his mind.
“So, you mean to tell me,” I clarified “that if you attended one of those Tony Robbins events where they spend a few days getting psyched up to walk on coals, you’d be able to go in and walk on those coals that very first day?”
“Exactly.” Griffin smirked at his new found imagined power. Who needed day to work up the courage for coal walking when you had no doubts you could do it at the first opportunity? Blister man was very confident in his abilities.
Well, why not? I thought. I suppose if you had to have a super skill, being able to walk anywhere was probably a good one. I mean who knew when that might come in handy – a lava flow that burned your shoes off in Hawaii and all you had left was your blistered feet, on the backs of alligators as you jumped across a river., I could see advantages, maybe not for the betterment of society but there were certainly advantages.
“Hey, who’s Tony Robbin’s?”asked Griffin.
“Tony? Oh, he’s this tall guy that goes around and gives motivation speeches.”
“Yeah, and he’s also Motivational Mom’s sidekick, so you can go to his workshops for the coal part, but hands off the rest of the time. Robbins is mine.”
“I don’t think you can claim a real person to be your sidekick, mom.” A little hurt that I had cheated in the superhero game. You don’t get to choose real people as sidekicks – apparently everyone knew that.
“Well, come to think of it, I’m not convinced you could walk on hot lava even if you did have blisters.” I added, giving voice to my imaginary musings.
“Oh, never mind.”
Calling it a truce, we continued on our way until we came to a tiny Campground store. Really it was just a room inside of a shed that had been turned into office building, but it was a store and where there is a store, there is usually food. Shaking the rain water off our packs, we entered.
They didn’t have much more than s’mores ingredients, sweatshirts, and candy and snacks for sale, but they did have freshly made coffee. Sweet, sweet coffee.
Griffin does not drink coffee, but up until 5 days ago I had. Although I only drink coffee in the morning, (not all day like some other writers I know.) I’ve always joked that if I could inject myself with coffee by IV, I would. Just think how much more effective and time saving that would be. I wondered how much of the discomfort I felt in the last 4 days was due in part to caffeine withdrawal.
The coffee was free for those who stayed at the campground, but when the women working at counter heard our story about walking from Canada to Massachusetts in the rain, she asked if I wanted a cup.
To which I (of course) said yes. Yes. Yes.
Griffin and I sat at a table, while I savored every single drop of that coffee. We told the woman about our trip. We also talked about Lyme disease and like everyone else we had met thus far, she shook her head, “it’s bad,” she said. “Lots of people have it.” Her dog had even had it and one day just couldn’t walk anymore. A course of antibiotics and he was better, or at least he was walking again. “Why can’t we do that for people?” she asked.
“Do you want more coffee,” she had noticed my cup was empty.
“No, thank you, we have to get going.” I paid for crackers and M &Ms (to replace the emergency fudge we had finally finished that morning) and we got our gear on.
That one cup of coffee did it for me. I was flying, I was chatty. I was ready to greet the world. If you had put a keyboard in front of me, I would have been able to write pages.
I also needed to pee.
Coffee is a strong diuretic
“Again?” Griffin would ask me each time.
“But I’ve gotten good at it,” I told Griffin “The key is to find a hidden spot behind a tree, squat and there you go.”
“Maybe that should have been your super power.”
“Huh,” I shrugged. “If that’s my super power then I’m trading my sidekick Tony Robbins in for that cartoon bear that sells toilet paper in the woods.”
(Here’s some information on why we took this trip.)
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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