It seems whenever you step out into the void and follow the path you feel you were destined, the universe comes along and gives you gentle reminders that you were meant to do what it is you have so boldly begun. It doesn’t give you those reassuring nudges before you step off the cliff, but only after you have attempted to fly does it teach you how. These “accidents of fate” always are serendipitous, and tend to take the form of coincidence, but they are so finely tailored to the situation, that they must be counted as providence. This was my experience yesterday.

I loaded my stroller, or as I have taken to calling it, my mobile studio. With me were drawing supplies, my portable easel, and watercolor implements. It took a time or two to get things loaded, as with all new adventures there is always a learning curve. A friend watching me offered, “You gotta take care of that baby, and don’t scratch that cadillac!”, referring to my easel which sat in the baby’s seat and his appreciation for my $40/$400 stroller.

Awkward! Well, at least at first. Having never even run with an ipod, running with all this “furniture” would take some getting used to. It took about two miles but slowly I was able to just run and let my mind wander as per usual. There are minor annoyances to be sure: the slight hook to the left the cart continues to make, the constant push with the right, left, or both hands, and the decision to use the leash or the brake…etc. Now living in SF, our hills are no joke; pushing a cart up them isn’t either. But, uphill you are in control, downhill, on the other hand, is a “whole ‘nother Oprah!” As I discovered the brake is worthless, and the leash is so long that stepped on it, immediately causing the cart to come crashing back into my shin as I nearly tumbled over it. 🙂 This caused some German tourists concern until they realized there was no baby. To them I simply offered, “entschuldigen?” That, in itself, proved to be the biggest effect; the continual quizzical looks garnered from passersby. What I didn’t understand was the disdainful looks I got from moms with babies in their strollers- was I an affront to them?

But, as I mentioned, providence was about to strike. I had just got into my rhythm, and I notice a lady running with a backpack on, who I would come to find out was named Ashanka, whimsically I offered to her, “You got to get one of these and take the load off your back.”

Which caused her to reply, “You know you could run across the country with one of those.”

“Actually,” I said, “that is the plan.”

“Really,” she retorted, “I ran across the country for peace from the UN to SF ten years ago carrying a torch with a group of people.”

Stunned, “You don’t say,” was all I could manage. From there on our conversation wandered to camping, Winnebagoes, peace, the unity of man, the beauty of life, painting, and the challenges of running across the country. Now, it is no small coincidence that on this maiden voyage, I meet a woman who has run across the country for peace and the brotherhood of man…it is providence. In parting she told me of the Peaceful Pilgrim. A woman who gave up all her earthly possessions, food, and shelter, a woman who took a vow to walk the earth until mankind knows peace and the brotherhood of man. She walked over 25,000 miles and then stopped counting. Back and forth across the continent fasting until she was given food, not resting until she was given shelter, and never asking for either. Providence. The universe has conspired in my favor, interesting though that I had to take the first steps with my stroller to receive that blessing.