We're home again!

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
1
28
Trip End Apr 30, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Vermont
Monday, May 26, 2008

We arrived home on April 28 as planned.   We're glad that so many people have warmly welcomed us back, showing us at least that they were aware of our absence during the six months of winter. We were touched by the response to our sharing at the April meeting of Quaker Earthcare Witness in Chicago. Friends were grateful and impressed with our journey. We were especially pleased with the turn out at the Burlington Friends Meeting for a welcome back pot luck at which we gave a short talk about our experiences and answered questions from the group.
 
One of the questions at that session was how do we feel we've been changed by this experience. Although we struggled to find adequate words, we did say that we have come closer to living in true simplicity as a spiritual path, and that our priorities are clearer about how we want to spend our time and energy. We no longer listen to the news in the morning, allowing us to be more grounded as we begin the day.
 
It's not easy to come home from such an exhilarating and complex experience. Although people are genuinely pleased we're home safe and ask how was the trip--but there's never enough time to really share all that happened. We can only give short sound bites like, "We had a great time," or "No, we didn't loose a lot of weight," or "Yes, we came back very physically fit," or "Yes, we were well received wherever we went," etc. People don't have 180 hours to sit and listen to all we want to say.
 
Another difficulty is that during our walk we were generally treated as heroes. People were excited to host us and meet us and talk with us. They fed us royally and treated us as though we were special. We almost forgot how to cook and clean. But now we're just ordinary people again who have to deal with the everyday stuff.
 
When we first returned our house sitters still lived with us for another three weeks. This also made it difficult to really settle into a routine and now we've had our home to ourselves for a week and are beginning to adjust. It will take some time to get the house back into the order we are accustomed to. Our house sitters did an admirable job taking care of things during a very difficult (snowy and icy) winter. They rose to the occasion when a number of mechanical problems needed to be corrected. We give them much thanks.
 
We're enjoying planting our gardens, watching all the incredible birds, including a nesting pair of Baltimore Orioles right in our back yard. We're experiencing another great Spring, though a very different one from California. The sweet smells of the lilacs and honeysuckle remind us we are home in Vermont. We are also delighted to be back with our two cats, who give us such pleasure each day. We're not sure they really missed us or now even remember we were gone, but they cuddle and purr with us, which makes us feel very special.
 
We decided that this would be our "water year." We are installing a large rain water collection system for irrigating our fruits and vegetables. (Here in Vermont we don't water our lawns or flowers.) We will also finally install a solar hot water system, using some second-hand panels we've had on hand for about 10 years. This will provide pre-heated water to our on-demand, tankless water heater and should substantially reduce our propane usage. The last water project will be to finish our small pond which is now just a hole in the ground. The pond will provide solar-pumped running water for the birds and other small animals and will be a visual centerpiece in our side yard where we often sit to enjoy the view of the Green Mountains.
 
Ruah will be returning to California to speak at Pacific Yearly Meeting while Louis attends New England Yearly Meeting to report back on our travels. Ruah hopes to see many of our new-found and old Friends while there.
 
We've also been catching up on family visits. Ruah visited her daughters and grandchildren in Maine soon after returning and we have a planned trip to Charleston, South Carolina for a family reunion over the Father's Day weekend. This June Louis will turn 65 and his brother will be 70. So, it seemed a good year to bring the immediately family together.
 
As we reflect on our pilgrimage, the overwhelming conclusion is that it was a journey of love. We were held in love by so many people in a myriad of ways. It was more love than we ever could have imagined. We thank you all for that.
 
We hope to hold on to the slower and more grounded pace of life that we experienced each day when we walked. This doesn't mean that we don't have as much to do, but that we approach the work with a deliberateness and calm that wasn't with us before. But there is a lot of work to catch up on including house projects and Quaker Earthcare Witness work. (We hope you all will begin supporting QEW if you don't already-Send your checks to: QEW, 173-B N. Prospect St., Burlington VT 05401.)
 
The walk seems like it took place so long ago, yet in other ways the memories seem so vivid that it could have been yesterday. As we created a scrapbook of newspaper articles and Meeting announcement of our walk, we once again relived some parts of the winter. We know it will be like this for the coming months. We'll have a memory of a moment or a person or a place that will bring a smile to us, and then we'll be back at our ordinary life once again.
 
The Peace For Earth website will continue to be somewhat active for the foreseeable future. For instance we intend to make periodic entries on our eco-journal which is separate from our blog. We also will update the various categories as new ideas come to us. QEW is considering printing our Walking in the Light booklet and we intend to provide the text for our skit since so many people said they found it moving and inspirational.
 
We would like to walk again sometime. We're not sure where or when yet, but we'll let you know and invite you along. We hope you'll stay in touch with us and that our paths cross again. West Coast Friends will have a special place in our hearts forever more.
 
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