A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #7
Greetings! Here’s the good news… I didn’t have to use any sunblock today… I stayed warm with my son’s poncho… the traffic was light… and the wind—amazing as it is—was at my back all day long! (I still think that it is very unusual for the wind to come from the east instead of the west during the summer!)
This morning I departed from home; and, even though my wife and I often speak of the following quotation by Bilbo (J.R.R. Tolkien’s courageous hobbit in The Lord of the Rings), on this day it had extra meaning: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” With the rain and wind today, I certainly could have been swept off; but I was fortunate to find my way to Nevada. But, if you think about it, every day is really an uncertain day… we really don’t know what is down the road, around the corner, or headed our way. Yet, we live one moment at a time. On the other hand, instead of scheming about the future, we could be spending lots of time reviewing the past. Robert Hastings wrote a little book with watercolor pictures by Marilyn Brown called The Station: A Reminder to Cherish the Journey: “It isn’t the burdens of today that drive us mad. It is the regrets of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.”
But one of my favorite mindfulness quotations is found in Pascal Pensees. Blaise Pascal was born in France in 1623 and he died in 1662 after a lengthy illness. But someone collected his “notes” and published them after his death… thoughts on mathematics, physics, literature, philosophy, and religion; and I will share this with you for your further reflection:
“We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee the only one that is… Let each of us examine our thoughts; we will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”
Did you know that the Nevada’s Lincoln Highway Days is the longest running annual celebration of the cross country road, established in 1983?
Today I met John, who came running out of his garage in State Center when I was walking by, and said: “You must be Mark!” He had seen my picture in the morning Marshalltown Times-Republican and wanted to come out and wish me well on my “hike” – a fitting word for a Boy Scout leader (who is anticipating camping this weekend with his Scouts even with possible cool and rainy weather) and a guy that seems to be a natural encourager! (By the way, remember the LH markers placed by the Boy Scouts in 1928… I found another one at the Niland Café!)
Today I learned that the Niland Café & Colo Motel is at the very “presidential” intersection of the Lincoln and Jefferson Highways, the “Crossroads” of U.S. 30 and U.S. 65 (from New Orleans through Minnesota and named after the president who presided over the Louisiana Purchase). Sandy Huemann-Kelly, who manages the site for the city of Colo, served us hot chocolate and pie along with some great information and stories of this unique place in American history! (The Niland Café is the location of one of my significant memories as a boy: it is the only time that I have a memory of my father treating me at a restaurant—I had a cherry malt at the café sometime in the early 60’s!)
Today I am grateful for the many people who have been following me as I make this journey… through Facebook, the Center’s website, my blog, texts, emails, phone calls… and from people from all over… Indiana, Minnesota, in a boat on the Intercoastal Waterway, etc. Thanks everyone for all of the support! If I don’t get back with you on the journey, I hope to catch up with you afterwards while my feet are still resting!
P.S. My gratitude marble for the day was left at the Jefferson Highway marker!
For more information and more posts, please see Mark’s homepage: dmpcc.org/WalkwithMark
Everyone is invited to “Walk with Mark” by helping him reach his goal to support quality mental health services for boys and men. Supporting his 331-mile trek is easy as 1-2-3:
- Walk with Mark via his blog on the Center’s website or Facebook page.
- Walk with Mark by joining him for part of his itinerary.
- Walk with Mark with a donation to the Center for the counseling assistance fund.