Thanksgiving greetings from Bellingham, Washington

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
Trip End Apr 30, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! We have been resting (walking each day to keep in shape, of course) in beautiful Bellingham, hosted by our friend Doris Ferm, who has taken great care of us. Doris, in her early eighties, is an amazing example of senior vitality and ecological and social conscience. She has been following a vegan diet for many years, is very active in her Meeting's Earthcare committee, and is up to date on energy efficiency actions in her home, including driving a hybrid car. Louis helped her change out a dozen of her recessed incandescent lights to compact fluorescent lights, which saved her 400 watts of energy demand. The meals she served us were scrumptious and beautifully presented. She's a fellow birder and we enjoyed a day of watching shore and water birds. We're very grateful to her for her warm hospitiality for a whole week and for sharing her cat, Sunshine with us since we miss our kitties. Tomorrow we'll be preparing for a potluck Thanksgiving meal in Doris's home with her family and Friends from the Meeting.

Our first five days of walking opened our hearts in unexpected ways. Hosts were incredibly generous with food and foot care and conversation. After a terrific dinner on night two, Tom and Thip Mathison brought out foot baths and guitars and while soaking we sang. At our next stop, Barney McCarney's condo in White Rock, BC, had a stunning view of Samiahmoo Bay. He even got up very early after a late night to make us a warm breakfast. And in Ferndale, Wash. we found that we had a lot of common interests and experiences with hosts Mimi Freshley and Bob Butterfield, who walked several miles with us the next morning. This morning they took us to a beautiful temperate rain forest with gigantic Douglas firs and cedar trees. Bob is a photographer par excellence and concentrates on nature photography. He has been a nature guide in several exotic locations. The photograph you now see of us with our packs on our blog was done by him.

We feel humbled by this experience of receiving. We've come to understand that people really want to be part of this walk in whatever way they can participate. For example, while walking into the rural crossroads community of Custer, Washington, with Will Duplantis of Bellingham Meeting, desperately needing a bathroom break, we were first rebuffed by a sign on a pub that the bathrooms were for customers only. So we walked a bit farther to a small country store where, upon telling the story of our walk, not only did the woman allow us to use the restroom, she also gave us a $2 contribution out of her tips that day! It was a beautiful act of kindness. We're learning that it's important to accept the offers with grace and thanks which helps the giver feel they are now part of the journey.

People stop us on the street to ask about our purpose and give us encouragement. Some honk and give the thumbs up sign. We've not received one negative comment! I think our vulnerability of only two or a handful of people, touches hearts. We feel small while walking and maybe somewhat foolish, but this adds to our approachability and opens the way for people to engage us.

During our stay in Bellingham we called Rick Dudley, who was our speaker at the QEW annual meeting when we met in Bellingham about five years ago. We eagerly accepted his invitation to lunch with his partner, Linda Blake, who shares his passion for living simply. We were eager to see first hand the 600-square-foot home that he had described during his plenary talk. In addition to the living space there's some storage and workshop space around it. Rick, Linda, and Rick's 14-year-old son Forest share 450 square feet of family space (including a sleeping loft for Rick and Linda) while Forest has 150 square feet for his room. They don't own a car and travel by bike and foot 90 percent of the time, while using public buses the other 10 percent. The house is comfortable and beautiful, and they have found a niche in which they can be happy while living with a low ecological footprint. After lunch we walked with Rick and Linda the 4 miles back to Doris's house through a beautiful cedar and Douglas fir woods by roaring Whatcom Creek and falls. We were awed by the girth and height of these magnificent trees in this public park.

We had a warm welcome from Bellingham Friends on Sunday, with a tasty potluck following worship and before our presentation. Lively discussion followed our talk and we made plans to see some folks again before we left. The videos are of Bellingham Friends' response to the questions: "What have you changed to make the world better?" and "What do you still need to change and what will it take to make that change?" Look for responses to these questions from Canadian Friends when we leave Canada for the last time at the beginning of December.

We leave Friday morning for a three-day walk to Anacortes, where we'll board the ferry to Vancouver Island for a three-hour trip passing through the San Juan Islands. We'll post again at the end of November or the beginning of December.

Louis and Ruah
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robbiebobbie on

Robin and Mary from Friends Community Church Sacra
Dear Ruah and Lois: We have been following your trip from the beginning, and hope that you can include Sacramento California on your trip. We will pick you up at the train or bus station and you can stay in our house. We have two Friends groups here...the church and the meeting, and another in nearby Citrus Heights. We also like bird watching, so depending on how long you want to stay, we can go to one of several sanctuaries. It is pretty cold to be camping this time of year in this area, but the birds (and bats) are very active.
Best from Robin and Mary

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