Last Word

Sunday, September 26, 2010

{ Day Twenty-two }

Today I made one Lewis & Clark stop just south of Sioux City, Iowa, at Lewis & Clark State Park in Onawa, Iowa. I had seen the sign for a keelboat replica on the way out and didn’t have time to stop. I looked it up in my Lewis & Clark book and decided to stop.

Apparently the man who built this keelboat has built several of them. It was up on a big trailer with “keep off” signs on it. I climbed on the end of the trailer instead, just to get a look onboard. It was interesting to stand next to an actual replica and get a sense of the size. Designed by Lewis with a few additions by Clark, the boat supposedly was difficult to maneuver. It was flat on the bottom, and I wondered if this had anything to do with it (not knowing squat about boats). After a brief look, I was on my way again.

Tomorrow I will complete the final leg of my journey. It would be nice to come back with some finite revelation. Some things have become clearer to me, and I do feel more relaxed. I should say that my faith in people has been somewhat renewed. I had noted that Glacier was not a place about people, but in the end, it was—at least partly. I never expected such kindness from perfect strangers. And not just there. From the campground hosts, the man in Great Falls who led me to my motel in his car, to the Elderhostel group and couples Craig and Sue and Rick and Sherilynn, most people were kind and generous.

I longed for and received a “physical” experience. I wanted something that could not be gotten by looking at a photograph or just flying in and flying back out. I desired to travel through the prairies and have the windows down, feel the sun, sit out in the hailstorm, hike in the snow. The video just wouldn’t do. I took 18 hikes in all, including three pretty short ones, totaling over 100 miles. Not bad in three weeks. I will have traveled well over 4,500 miles. How else do you get a sense of the space—the relationship of man to earth and earth to sky?