Day 11 – Ashland to Sanbornton (cont)
As we were talking and joking with our friends, our most favorite little red car in the world pulled up alongside of. Marc and Addy got out and were surprised to see Rosemarie. It’s that feeling of dislocation when you meet your child’s teacher in the grocery store – what are you doing here? Everyone hugged. A little bit of home in the middle of nowhere.
Rosemarie left as we waved good bye. Griffin and I got into the car.
The first thing we did was direct Marc to the graffiti park we had seen outside of Plymouth. Marc is a photographer with a penchant for graffiti photos. We knew he’d love it.
Griffin and I gazed out the window on the miles we had walked. Like the parent of a toddler, because you see your child every day, it takes someone else to point out to you “How much she’s grown.” As we traveled in the car, we could see from a different vantage point, just how impressively far we had come in the last two days.
Marc knew, based on my texts and phone calls home, how important it was to get good food when we could. Neither Griffin or I had wanted to stop in Plymouth again even though there were good restaurants; it seemed too much like we would be going backward. After he had taken his fill of photos at the park, Marc used Google and found a restaurant that was close enough to our intended destination. when you have access to a car, but far, far from our planned path if you did not.
Had Marc not been there to take us out to lunch, it would have been a gas station meal for us.
We settled on a local diner. Over lunch, Griffin and I told Marc about being in Ashland, meeting members of the town and the generosity of Susan. Like Griffin, Marcreminded us that he had been a little alarmed when I had made plans to stay with a perfect stranger.
“Well they’re no longer perfect strangers, instead they’re perfect friends.” I said, pulling my chicken tender apart so I could dip it into my sauce.
After lunch, I asked Marc to drive us to the closest pharmacy.
“Why?” he asked, his spider sense alerted. “You’re hurt?”
“I just need to find another brace for my other knee,” I told him. “I think it will help.”
Marc took us to a pharmacy where I found another brace and on impulse threw in a pack of two thick cotton “copper” socks (as seen on TV.). Griffin and I had been wearing thin wool socks that were washed out each night. We didn’t have a pair of comfortable, warm, clean socks to wear in the hotels at night. I thought they would be a treat for us.
Before our walk began, I had exchanged my anxiety about coming face-to-face with a bear with what earrings I should wear for the walk. I asked the readers on my blog to choose between a few pairs (all made in New Hampshire – if I was going to wear earrings, they were going to be local.)
The general feedback was that my dangly choices would have gotten caught up on my backpack. “Wear studs” was the consensus.
The weekend before our trip, while I was shopping in a local crafts store, I found a pair of hammered small square earrings that not only had been made locally by the artist Thomas Kuhner, but had been made in Sanbornton, the town we were now walking through.
“Thomas,” I emailed the artist, “I’m wearing your earrings on a long walk with my son. We’ll be walking through your town. We’d love to meet you.”
This was before I realized that there would be no extracurricular activities on our walk, no nighttime events, no investigating local attractions. When you are on foot, it is difficult to go to places that are out of the way.
But I had told him we’d come, so we piled back into the red car and descended upon his studio.
I’m not sure if Thomas had ever had a fan club come to meet him before, but there we were. He’s a quiet man, slight and wearing John Denver glasses. I immediately felt comfortable with him. Another trail angel come to teach us.
Thomas was gracious as he invited us into his studio and explained his work. His pieces were delicate and clearly embraced nature. From his website (ThomasKhuner.com)
“Each piece if carefully hand-wrought in precious metals of 14k gold, sterling silver overlay, or 14K golf over sterling by using the traditional centuries-old methods of the metalsmithing trade. The metals are forged, chased, or peened, then polished to a high shine many are embellished with luminous precious and semi-precious stones and lustrous freshwater pearls.
“Designs range from simple and classic to contemporary and whimsical. Cast pieces (using the “lost-wax” process) are inspired by the seasons of nature – from the delicate petals of a summer garden to the ephemeral beauty of an individual snowflake. Constructed pieces evolved from simple and natural patterns found everywhere – from shells in the seas to molecular patterns in the world of atoms.”
Thomas showed us cases of his work, shining droplets of silver and gold, gorgeous stones arranged in pendants, brilliance shining throughout.
How perfect, I thought, that I had stumbled upon this artist, this lover of nature and a man who used that inspiration of nature in his all his work. How fitting that I used his earrings as my talisman to calm me against the fear of bears.
(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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