Monday, April 5, 2010

Write of Passage - Day 9

August 10, 2009: Willamette Pass, Oregon--St. Anthony, Idaho (686 miles)

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.~Eleanor Roosevelt

Cote and I stepped into a world of shock this morning--a cold snap, registering 38 bone-chilling degrees!! What the heck? Wasn't this still August? Had we somehow slept for over a month, and bypassed the rest of summer? When we opened our motel door, frigid air hit us like an arctic blast! It was so cold in fact, that we ran to the car, threw in our bags, and shivered as we slid across our cold leather seats. I turned the key and cranked the heat. It was 7:15 a.m. Our teeth chattered like wind-up toys, as we pulled out of the motel's driveway and headed east. All I could think about was how thankful I was this temperature had held off for one more day. Otherwise, we would have woken up as frozen icicles suspended from the branches of a 256 foot tree.
Cote and I spent today driving, logging almost 700 miles. We were both rested from yesterday's laid-back afternoon and last night's full 8 hours of sleep. My mind was rested too. I didn't tell Cote about this, but I had a moment of "quiet panic" around 7:00 p.m. last night. As I sat journaling our experience of sleeping in trees, it hit me just how far away from home we truly were. The Willamette Pass Inn sits 3000 miles due west of Deerfield, Michigan. We were two women, traveling cross country, alone in a car. The responsibility of all this knocked me down for a moment last night. My mind suddenly began to rifle through a long list of "what-if's." What if one of us got sick? Or became hurt? What if our car broke down?.......We blew a tire?......Or our engine overheated? What if something like this happened while we were driving a long stretch of back road, stuck inside some cellular dead zone? Last night, sitting in our quiet motel so far away from home, I felt the full weight of all these what-if's. There was so much that could go many bad things that could happen.......What if?....What if?.... What if???
But then I grabbed hold of myself, and started to remember all the good stuff instead. I let my mind sift back through all the miles Cote and I had already covered together, how incredible the journey had been so far. I took a deep breath and reminded myself how much my daughter and I had already taken on, how much we had overcome, and all that we had yet to discover.....about the world, and ourselves. We were in the middle of her rite of passage. It was OK for either one of us to get scared. For without fear, we wouldn't grow. Without fear, we wouldn't realize we have the courage to push past how far we
think we can go, to find a world blooming with unimaginable beauty and possibility.
So, today we drove. And drove. I packed my fears in the traveling case of my mind, and stowed them securely with the rest of our baggage. I wanted to bring them along, so as to be mindful and cautious when a situation warranted it. But I was down-right determined not to give them the driver's seat.
Conversation was light today. Cote and I relaxed into the ride, as we headed towards Yellowstone. This was to be our next major destination, our next natural wonder to explore. It was too far away to drive in just one day, but we pushed ourselves to get as close as we could. We made it to St. Anthony, Idaho, before pulling over for the night. We were still about 80 miles from the western entrance of the national park, but this was the last town on the map before the final stretch to the gate and we were too tired to drive further and too worried we wouldn't find a place to stay. Cote and I could easily finish up the drive tomorrow morning, and then spend the rest of the day playing inside Yellowstone.
I did have one somewhat "light-bulbish" moment today, while driving along a quiet stretch of Highway 20. I realized Cote and I had not really hugged each other over the past several days. It was weird, but I think because we were together 24/7, we had somehow overlooked this simple form of affection for each other. Our lifestyle right now wasn't like a typical day back home.....where we could go an entire 8-10 hours and not see each other due to work and school. By the end of the night, it was natural for us to hug each other and say "I missed you." But in traveling together, and being each other's only companion, this simple mother-daughter ritual had been subconsciously replaced by a heaping helping of constant togetherness.
"You know what? I haven't hugged you for days."
"You're right. You haven't."
"Isn't that weird? I think because we've been together so much, we haven't thought about it. We talk, we hike, we climb, we drive. And then at the end of the day, we say goodnight and fall asleep in our own beds without having to leave the room. I just realized how much I miss hugging you, Cote. So tonight, I'm going to give you the biggest hug ever."
"Ok. And then when you're done, I'm going to give you one."
We kept our promises and shared those hugs. I wish I could say this is where
our day ended, with such a beautiful mother-daughter moment. But I can't. As our evening wore on, Cote turned to her facebooking and texting.......this time to the point of falling into a coma-like trance. Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh, but it's true. She was so engrossed in her online conversations, that she was completely oblivious to my silent yet growing irritation. (C'mon! I shouldn't really have to TELL her how I feel, right? I mean, I'm only sitting 3 feet away. Shouldn't she be able to READ my mind??!!). I fell asleep slightly agitated and annoyed tonight in our little motel room in St. Anthony.
Little did I know, it was only the beginning of our biggest blow out yet......

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Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran