We expect it to be hot and decide to check out of the hotel in Rawlins as late as possible. Watching “the mummy” marathon last night soothed my unhinged mind and the prevalence of tampons here makes me feel more relaxed. I’m ready to hike out.
We call to hear the local bus schedule and actually talk directly to the driver who picks us up like a taxi. And it is only 50c. I love Rawlins!
Clouds cover the sky and it’s cool out but I feel… Well… Good. I *could* be worried about the infrequent (and commonly alkaline) water… or which route to take (30 mile road walk vs 50 mile country road walk) or the incoming clouds and likelihood of thunderstorms. But we are strangely calm. I’ve loosely set my jaw in determination. I will hike out of town. I will be okay.
We start the long road walk outta town and shortly a red 88 ford truck goes by. I comment “nice truck” and 5 minutes later it’s back and the gentleman offers us an unsolicited ride.
We allow it to happen. It’s not necessary. Technically we’re on trail and resigned to the road walk. But something about our serenity allows us to just say yes. I start accepting messages like this as… Well… acts of god. Angels. Unspoken manifestations.
We say yes. “Sure. A ride a few miles would be great.” And we are delivered the gift of learning about this incredible human. At times I really think God is talking to me. He repeats “you only live once you should have fun.” And “The most important thing is to help people.”
He shares wisdom about hunting and meat and using the whole animal. Wisdom about these hills. Which streams are running and which lakes are alkaline. About his desire for Freedom from government. His Apache grandma. His views which my mother would consider conspiracy theories.
He keeps offering to take us a little further. A little further. We submit as he confidently states “I know exactly where you need to go.” I really believe… If he’s an angel in disguise I should probably let him take me. Sure Friend. I trust you. Take me where I need to go.
Then he asks me about politics. He is aghast about Hilary. It dawns on me he is a trump supporter. A reluctant, anti establishment Trump supporter. A low-income, on disability, Native American who will likely vote for Trump. After expressing my concerns about Trump’s racism, I change the subject. The most important lesson I’ve learned “out here”: people are good. The problem is we are -ALL OF US- fed damaging messages about other Americans. Other humans. We are intentionally divided by those in power as a distraction so we will avoid real resistance and they can stay in power.
And I’m reminded of this poem I saw on my friend Arne’s Instagram feed months ago, by Brenda Shaughnessy:
“This is how we do it to you: we keep you extremes to either side
And parade down the middle while you cheer us on. ”
Because if you meet an angel in a red Ford truck in Wyoming who drives you 53 miles out of his way, and gives you a beer just because he likes being kind to people, he might be voting for Trump.
I am broken open by this person.
Politics (like mainstream media, like blockbuster movies, like the cult of capitalism) gets in the way from our basic humanity. Can’t we talk to each other more face to face?
This is why I thru hike.