Pilgrim Quakers on the move again

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

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Friday, December 7, 2007

Wow, so much has happened since the last time we wrote when we shared that we were greeted by an enthusiastic group of Quakers and Unitarians as we came off the Victoria- Port Angeles ferry. We walked with them that day on the Olympic Discovery Trail to the home of Lisa Wiggins and Chip Wright. Chip is the minister of the local Unitarian Universalist fellowship, and Lisa, a minister as well, works with the children. There was never a lull in the conversations as we all grew to know each other and to find where our lives and hearts intersected.

The next morning, a Sunday, we put our disassembled packs and cart into Lisa and Chips car and headed for their Sunday gathering. There we were again warmly welcomed by the congregation which, by the way, was lively and enthusiastic and was clearly a loving community with lots of meaningful programs and activities. During the beginning of the service we gave an abbreviated version of our skit to an intergenerational audience who were very attentive and appreciative. Later in the program we shared the pulpit to talk about the significance of John Woolman in today's world and to talk a bit about our walk. Lisa had invited Nash's Organic Farm to send a representative with sample winter vegetables as an example of living locally and sustainably. There seems to be a lot of interest in this region about local organic foods--and why not, when many can be grown here year-round.

After lunch at the church, with many thanks to our Unitarian hosts, we continued on the scenic Olympic Discovery Trail in the company of Pat MacRobbie, who was guiding us to a pick-up place some 5 miles ahead. Along the way others joined us for abundant walking and talking. Pat's husband, Stuart, picked us up near a coverted railroad trestle over a salmon creek in a beautiful park and took us to the MacRobbie home in Sequim. Once again we were impressed by the commitment of our hosts to living sustainably. Pat and Stuart built a home with a solar array for electricity and solar hot water and lots of green features, including passive solar orientation. They were a delight to be with and very helpful in seeing that we were well fed and rested following the walk.

The next morning a newspaper reporter came to the house to interview us. She was very enthusiastic to learn as much as possible about our mission. The article came out the next day in the Peninsula Daily News, and we were pleased with the report's accuracy and photos. When she was winding up the interview Bob Shultz, our Port Townsend walk coordinator, and Steve Evans, both of Port Townsend Friends Meeting, arrived to walk with us for the seven miles to the Jamestown S'klallam Tribal Center, again on the same Olympic trail. Our conversations during the walk with Bob and Steve, including a stop for lunch in a state park, went far deeper than stories about our activities and interests. We came to know each other as fellow seekers. While we were at the tribal center Louis called his father who said that he had been getting concerned about us because a big storm had been reported hitting the western part of the state. In fact the area had suffered a major blow in terms of flooding and mudslides and other weather havoc, even to the extent of flooding a major portion of the area we expect to be walking in in a couple of weeks. We read later that the precipitation had broken all local records of over seven inches in one day and this just accentuated the concern of global climate change that hangs over our pilgimage. But luckily we were at the moment walking through what people here describe as the rain shadow of Olympic Mountains which shielded this whole stretch of the coastline from the storm. (We have since called the campgrounds where we plan to stay south of Olympia and all are open.)

We then hopped on a bus for the rest of the way into Port Townsend because of the dangers of walking on that particular stretch of that very busy and narrow highway. When entering the bus one man called out, "So you're the Quaker walkers!" and he and other passengers were curious to know more. (Bob, coordinator extraordnaire had blanketed the town with posters and Steve, our publicity coordinator, had made sure that there were articles in local papers about us.)  As we stepped down from the bus in Port Townsend we were enthusiastically welcomed by Hannah Russell, a member of the Friends Meeting. She walked a ways with us and parted promising to see us again the next day.

We continued walking to the Rosewind Cohousing Community where we joined in their weekly dinner in the common house and were introduced to our new hosts, Caroline Wildflower and Clint Weimeister. It turns out that we knew Caroline's father, Ralph Kerman,  quite well since he was actively involved with Quaker Earthcare Witness from its beginning until he died. Many of our readers will remember him as a gentle and kind man who was dedicated to increasing Friends Committee on National Legislation's lobbying on environmental legislative issues. It was great spending time with his daughter and getting to know her and Clint in the way only living with people for a couple of days can bring. An example of the generosity of those we meet was when, at the table, we were talking of the need for a small tripod for our video camera, Caroline got her camera bag, and with a nod from Clint, handed us just what we were wanting!

During our two days at Rosewind, Bob Shultz had scheduled several brown bag lunches and a potluck with a variety of local peace, justice, and environmental activists.These gatherings were very inspiring as we learned of all the good work being done in the city and county. We had the opportunity to visit an evolving eco-village, which is a neighbor to the cohousing community. The eco-village presently has limits to the sizes of homes. A single person is limited to 450 feet and a couple 700 feet. Our guide, Kees (pronounced Case), gave us a tour of his 700 square foot cottage, which seemed roomy, cozy, and certainly sufficient for two people.

We had some refreshing down time at the home of Bob and Phyllis Shultz and dinner with Cathy Whitmire and Tom Ewell, F/friends from New England sojourning on Whidbey Island. It was good to reconnect with them. After dinner was the "main event" of our stay in Port Townsend, an evening at the Presbyterian Church, where 13 local non-profits were invited to set up display tables about their organizations. About 80 people came (there were strong competing events that evening, including a talk by the famed organic gardener, Eliot Coleman) and our presentation in the sanctuary was enthusiastically appreciated. We felt we were getting in a kind of groove about adapting our materials effectively to inter-faith and secular events. We're also internalizing our skit and becoming more fluent in its presentation.

After the event we walked with our new hosts, Owen and Sarah Fairbank, to their home. Even though our time was short with them since we had to leave early the next morning, we did have time enough to feel connected with them. Louis was starting to come down with a cold and they were very helpful in providing good remedies to carry with us. They fed us grandly in the morning, giving us plenty of fuel for the day's walk.

A number of locals met us at the marina that morning to walk for the day. Some walked part way and some the whole way. We had fun walking side-by-side with various folks along the way, walking and talking as can only happen when we have so much time to share. The companions make our miles go by so much faster. One man shared that he had recently had both knees replaced and was pleased to be walking with us. Many were eager to help with pushing our cart and carrying the Earth flag. It's touching that people really want to be part of this walk for whatever time they can give to it. Our greater walking experience meant that we were responsible for everyone's safety as we walked along often very narrow shoulders, dividing our attention between each other, the scenery, and the traffic. We walked at a pretty quick pace and arrived at Jeff and Hazel Johnson's home 2 hours ahead of schedule!

Our last night with Port Townsend Friends included at potluck holiday meal at Jeff and Hazel's house. We're very grateful to the Friends community for their tender care of us. We missed meeting Hazel since she was off caring for her ill daughter. She and Jeff our in our prayers. Jeff then guided us to our next rendevoux with more travelers a few miles from his home. We were surprised and delighted that Caroline Wildflower joined us on the day's walk. Our new walkers included John, who is a county commissioner (one of three), Adele, our new local host who opened her lovely Port Ludlow home to us for refreshment and rest during the afternoon, concluding with outstanding lattes prepared by her husband Dean which gave us the boost we needed for the evening's events. We enjoyed the others who joined us as well who were enthusiastically picking up litter as we walked. (We have a hard time bending down to this important work with our heavy packs.) We had a respite mid-way in a home overlooking the bay, where the hosts provided coffee, tea, fruit, and pastries.

That evening we were the featured speakers at the Jefferson County Democrats annual holiday party. We didn't present the skit since we thought something else would be more appropriate but we did talk about John Woolman and the purpose of our walk and encouraged those present to share ideas about how the county activists might work together towards a more sustainable community. We were a hit! Many thanks to Adele, Bob, Steve, and so many others who made our time productive, fun, and meaningful.

We were picked up that night by Michael Moore, our Agate Passage contact, and brought to the home of Diane and Harry Carle in Paulsbo. (We were driven over the Hood Canal because the bridge was deemed unsafe for pedestrians.) More about this visit later!

Two videos are included with this entry. There are more to come. They take time uploading. We hope you are enjoying them as much as we have.
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