Compassion in the face of outward hostility is not easy.

I expected when I started this that the animosity and antipathy that I would face would be physical, but like racism, the outward manifestation of people’s aggression is always preceded by¬†avoidance, disapproving looks, and words of rancor and enmity. Like anyone, my gut reaction comes from my reptile brain, and it wants to fight or run. As my friend Scaughdt always says, all you/I need to do is just stop, breathe, and love anyway. Thankfully, I’ve been able to follow that advice, and love anyway.

Mike was just the opposite, but he was very fun to talk to. We walked down the road together for about 2 hours and talked about everything from religion, mitochondrial DNA, and the quietness of the desert. I asked him if he wanted to camp together as the sun began to set. He related the fact that he doesn’t camp as he rides across the country but rather stays in hotels. As it was, he would be riding for another 2 hours in the dark to make the next city. Sorry to put him in danger, but so happy for the conversation.

Here is a desert traveler that didn’t have the best of luck crossing the desert. Hopefully, my luck will be better than his. It has been so far. My friend Winnie was kind enough to arrange a hotel and a veggie pizza for me a couple nights back. After a 30 mile day with 20-30 mph headwinds, I was soooo grateful for this tremendously kind gift.

Having passed the continental divide, the landscape and people are starting to change. I’ve luckily had a tail wind for the last two days, but 30-40 mile an hour winds are a bit much. My cart works a bit like a sail, and pulls me down the road. There are no side roads, so I’ve been forced to run on the freeway I-10 for the last couple of days. But, apparently, the cops don’t care here. Cool.

My heart was heavy as I watched this train go by. I don’t know what would be worse to watch the actual people condemned to die in the trains going to the death camps, or watching these tanks go by knowing what they are meant for. What a contradiction on Valentine’s Day. The “day of love”, and I watch tanks meant to kill and destroy pass by…tank…tank…tank…tank…tank…tank…death…death…death…murder. Have we learned nothing? Have we not yet lost our taste for war?

In contradiction to those creations of death and destruction, I produce these flowers as a peace offering.

Tonight is suppose to bring snow, a first for me on this trip. The winds have died, and the dust storm have abated. I accomplished my mileage goal early today, and have been sitting and painting in a Dairy Queen here in Gage, NM. Laura was a sweet girl who allowed me to paint and draw while she moped. I was able to give this “peace” to her and hopefully create the peace I wish to see as I continue to travel south.