What is the most compassionate thing I can do right now? For most of my day, walking down the somewhat endless highway, the answer to that question is to wave.

I wave two fingers of peace to each car that I pass, and I whisper—peace to you.

Parades are a thing of the past it seems. The floats, marching bands, baton twirlers, drill lines, and fire engines tossing candy to kids it seems are a relic or a fading memory. But, at the time, the idea of waving to a parade queen, a clown, or a Shriner in a tiny car seemed just the most obvious thing to do. Everyday kindness as it were. It was the same reason that you said, good morning, good day, good afternoon, and good evening to any passerby you happen into on the street. I was why you talked about the weather; it was good manners, but it was how you showed love.

Today’s parades are for something as well, but they take differing forms. We call them Races for the Cure or Marathons. Circuses don’t come to town, but Marches on Washington and Gay Pride are have taken the place of the “spectacle” to be witnessed. But, it is the same flamboyant costumes, the cavalcade of humanness, and the pageant of beauty that still cause us to line the street curbs. They are on parade for a thing, demonstrating for lack of a better term, what is most important to them. Waving is how you show your appreciation, perhaps despite your lack of agreement with their tenets, to the other and for yourself.

I am on the road parading for peace. My pilgrimage is spectacle for love. The reason for this pageant is Love, Art, & Peace. However, my destination is not the vacant lot at the end of town, city hall, or the steps of the Washington Monuments. Rather the goal, purpose, and targets are the hearts and minds of all that I encounter.

My terminus is inside. To provide a reason to remember what we already know. The knowledge that resides within our collective consciousness. That innate wisdom which we sometimes forget or suppress. The understanding that we are all good, we are all kind, we are all divine.

I camped last night in a field FILLED with leeches! I don’t know how the original Peace Pilgrim did it without a tent. She was a tough cookie. Mosquitoes, slugs, ants, leeches, snakes, etc. I think that I will be able to do as she did…but for right now, I’m very happy for a tent.

Today I was blessed to meet a great number of kind souls. As I saddled up and left that boggy field, I came upon a Shetland Pony and a Donkey enjoying the shade. A hundred yards latter I met their owner, and extremely precocious five year-old named Alexandra, who asked me to draw her a butterfly. Alex told me that they, “Had to separate these two Phillies, because they like to stir up trouble.” And that, “That old donkey likes to think that he is the boss.” Adrian, whom I believe was her grandfather, was helping her (rather than the other way around) with crossing the ponies from one side of the road to the other. Lil’ Alexandra didn’t take any mess! And, from the look on the horses’ faces, they knew she meant business, and stayed closer to Adrian desiring NOT to deal with Alex’s wrath.

“Heaven hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.”

I was able to give this drawing to Adrian, his strong and sun-chapped hands shaking mine echoed the warmth in his eyes. His daughter Susan kindly offered me some ice-cold water bottles for my journey.

Later, I was able to give paintings and drawings to Matthew, Henry, and Jeanne. All of who were extremely generous with their time and resources buying me a Danish and a couple of cups of tea. People are good people are kind. I never ask for these kindnesses, in fact I often refuse them, but people persist in compassion. It is who we are; we are a compassionate species. I think most species are.

I saw a cow the other day whose eyes was continually pussing. It tried to scratch away the harden tears that had collected in the duct with its hind foot. Laden with mud and dung, it proved not to be the best tool to solve the problem. Another cow came from across the field and licked that cows eye clean…a tongue bath of compassion.

I recoiled at the puss mass, but this cow showed greater compassion than I and ingested it, allowing the strong enzymes in its mouth to work as therapy to stay an infection.

Lesson learned.

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