Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 25 Happy Thanksgiving

I'm still having a delightful - surprisingly hilly - autumn walk on the arrow-straight quiet gravel roads across Nebraska.  Having crossed south of the Platte River now heading to the capital of Lincoln, the terrain has gotten more rolling with small rivers and marshes adding textural interest.  The perfect one-mile grid of unpaved roads overlay the topography like a graphical network display - it's not possible for someone on foot to get lost here.  Now walking due east, I've been on the same dirt road for days.

Noisy Sand Hill cranes are keeping me company overhead migrating south in their rather untidy vee-formations that would certainly entitle the Canada geese to sneer with superiority in their efficient and silent vees.  Despite the sub-freezing night temperatures, there are still plenty of locusts and snakes keeping me company on the ground.

How tame is an American pilgrimage?  A pair of unleashed dogs - a young St Bernard and a Golden Retriever mix - lumbered across a farm field as a passed close to a house at Road "Q".  With wagging tails and slurpy tongues, I was hardly afraid.  Big, of course, without collars, they obviously were pets rather than strays, and revealed the full understanding of "down" and "sit".  By Road "R" a mile away, they equally revealed a lack of understanding of "stay" or "go home".  They ran huge circles around me, so for each straight mile I walked, they romped at least two.  I tried the tactic of disinterest at one of the occasional old family cemeteries - on a bluff, encircled with a fence, and entered through a gate.  With them outside the gate and me leaning against a stone dated back to the 1880s trying to enjoy a snack, their whimpering and whining tugged at my heart - come on, let us in, we only want to play... that's what they were saying... trying to dig under the fence to get close to me... ach, leave me in peace...

I couldn't take them with me, didn't want to make them stray too far from wherever their home was, but how to get rid of them??  I tossed a few rocks at them, but they only fetched them and frolicked all the more... I tried 'whipping' a cornstalk at them, but they only played tug-of-war... I continued walking to be sure to arrive in the next village before dark, and they stayed with me.  They adopted me.  With big eyes and goofy hanging tongues.  A pickup truck came by, but the dogs hid in a gully when I flagged the driver down and asked if he knew where the dogs lived, what dogs? no.  The dogs rejoined me when the truck drove off after frolicking more in a small river.  I walked all the way to Road "X", then "Y", then before "Z" another pickup came in the same direction as I was walking.  I flagged down the driver again, this time a woman, and this time the dogs leapt with their paws on the door - both taller than I - as I explained that the dogs had been following me and implored her to drive me a mile or so to loose them, though the idea of them not being able to find their way home hit with a pang...

After all that, I laughed at the comparison to so many of the wild animals and narrow escapes I've met on past pilgrimages... here in the heartland, foolishly besieged by two sweet enormous friendly companions, who no doubt slept well that night from all their exercise.

Happy Thanksgiving my American friends,
cheers from pilgrimland!


Allie S said...

Happy thanksgiving aunt spike. Sounds like you had some nice company today :) Thinking about you from Costa Rica, and feeling thankful I didn't run into any issues while renewing my visa in Panama...
Much love,

Michèle Dextras said...

Happy Thanksgiving Anne. I can see those dogs playfully following you. Keep safe.

Sandy H said...

We so enjoyed your stay in Stockham and are keeping you in our prayers and watching your progress! One night is not long enough with you! I think I will hang a shell on my doorpost! :)
Blessings on your journey!