Today was the real test. The first day was easy. It was just a long run, but I knew my aunt would be waiting for me at the campground. I didn’t know if she brought food for me, I didn’t ask her too, but she did. Day one was easy.

Day two was harder. It was the first real day out there; a day with no end in sight. No idea where I was going to stay. As I journeyed down the road, every logging road, fire road, or valley presented me with a choice for accommodation as night quickly approached.

Where would I stay? How would I kick off this thing? If I chose poorly, would it set a tone for the rest of trip? The first place I chose was next to a creek, but as I went to investigate, the ground was soggy.

Time was of the essence now, and choices had to be made. Then I saw a relay station for the Bonneville Power Administration. I tooled my rig in behind it and had a panoramic view of the valley below the Olympics for my sunset view.

The lines hummed with electricity, and I found it difficult to sleep. Not because of the white noise, or the cancer they might be causing, but because of fear. I hate to admit it, especially because of all that I had written on the subject. But, I found myself…afraid.

Then, I thought of the possibilities: Death or Pain. Ultimately it was either the fear of pain or death that has hampered all of us at one time in our lives from fulfilling our dreams. In this case pain would give me the choice to love or fight and attacker, whether that be a skunk, mosquito, bear, bee, or man. Death, I cannot control anyway, so I’m going to heaven, going to be reincarnated, reach nirvana, or simply nothing happens. I consciously chose to breathe hamsao, “I am that, I am that”, and believed that if given the chance, I would choose to love.

Day one I received my first negative, and it presented my first chance to practice what I preach. I wave peace to every passing car, and most either wave back, give me a non-committal wave by raising one finger off the steering wheel, one person even gave me three fingers in return. But, most either just wave back or do nothing at all. Some show me peace in return. But, that day I received the middle finger for the first time since starting to live as the peace artist.

I was wondering how I would react to that or some other negative situation when it arose. Thankfully, upon reflecting on what I did do in return, I am very happy for my response. I just waved at them emphatically, smiled, and yelled, “I love you.”

But, as I said, today was going to be the hard day. Anyone can do something for one day, but to wake up to do it again, and again, and again. Today I was far removed from any sort of help. I am now 66 miles from my starting point, and if I wanted it, no friend is close.

I suppose that I could give up at anytime. I allow myself the right to do that, and I may. But, I’m OK for now.

Yesterday, as I was leaving the coffee shop, I began to talk to the owners (Jill and Jeff) about my travels. I gave them some drawings that I did that morning, and they were so kind to me. They sent me off with a 20 oz. Soy latte. I felt so loved.

When you are hungry, not asking for food is hard. Your mind will play tricks on you to get you into situations where you might “work an angle”. I have thought about this, and I have come to the conclusion that if my goal is to love others as myself, I wouldn’t want to feel guilted into “giving”. Out of compassion for others, I just tell people about what I am doing. I tell them the intent and the parameters, and leave it at that. I allow them to decide to what level they wish to enable me if at all.

I ran to where I saw this beautiful pond filled with lilies, frogs, and lotus blossoms. I went up the farmhouse attached to it, and asked Jay if he would mind if I painted it. There was a dock and rowboat in the shade there, and I spent the afternoon painting the pond. Bliss. Thanks again Jay.

Today I sampled berries of all kinds. Blackberries of course, but also some varieties that I’d never heard of or tried before. The best of these were Thimble Berries.

Thimbles are AMAZING, and they have the most interesting flavor of any berry I’ve ever eaten. I also tried Logan berries. I’ve eaten them before, but not for about twenty years.

I also ate Salal berries that are like a cross between a blueberry and a fig. In addition to berries, I also ate cattails for the first time. I actually ate their rhizome, and found it very very good, and fun to eat after you get past all the mud.

The last test, that of faith continues to elude me. Today, I saw a beautiful dead bird on the side of the road. I wanted to raise it from the dead. I was afraid however that if I tried and failed…what would that mean?

First I had to deal with my aversion. Buddhist believe it is one of the three feelings that lead to evil, the other two being passion and lust.

I laid my hands on the bird, and asked for it to be healed, I truly believed that it would be. I even thought I felt it begin to move under my touch. But, when I opened my eyes…it was still a dead bird.

I am left asking—Was it my lack of faith? Was Jesus full of shit? Was the bird too far dead? Was the asking not inline with the will of the universe? Saddened by the event I strove on.

Finally, I came upon a trail that mirrors the 101. It is a cycling and running trail that goes all the way to Port Angeles! Awesome! I followed it until it led me to a campground and I found myself pitching my tent.

I set up next to Nate and Kizzie. These people were so nice to me. They shared their dinner, their fruit snacks, and even gave me a token for the shower. I truly felt blessed. After dinner I drew Nate, and talked to Kizzie for a long while. We talked about my own personal short comings, ethics, raising the dead bird, or the lack there of, and we talked about love.

It seems I went out on this trip thinking about what I had to give, what I had to offer. What I wanted to share with folks. Perhaps even to “Teach” them a thing or three. But, I am learning that everyone is your teacher. Everyone can teach another about love. For we all do it, and we all fail to as well. We can learn a great deal from each other when we listen rather than speak.

This morning, they made me breakfast, and gave me a whole bag of homemade fruit leather, homemade oat bars, and dehydrated fruit, and gave me powder to make Gatorade.

It seems it is the things such as this, for which I could never prepare, that make this trip so much more rewarding and meaningful.

Yesterday was a hard day, but I am ready and willing to see what tomorrow brings, and receive today with gratitude.

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