Monday, May 11, 2015

Scenes from a Day in 2010

The deep sleep during the overnight long-haul across the ocean.

The pause between flights when I photograph a Heineken. I email the picture to a friend who is in a different place, a different time. I remind him of this place, this time of day, this beer, three years earlier when he and I were on our way to work in Stockholm, Sweden.

The short flight across the sea. I nudge my drowsy partner when a surprisingly good breakfast appears.

The tiny regional airport. The cab driver doesn't know the way to the nearby train station. He stops the car, I retrieve my GPS from the trunk.

The bleak train station. We change out of walking shoes into hiking boots.

The train rattling through a post-industrial world towards the sea.

The giant industrial pipes taking circuitous, omega-shaped, expansion-absorbing paths. Or is this a memory from fifty years earlier?

The cardboard box, sealed tight. I try to tear the tough strapping tape with the tip of a pen. The tip pops off, spilling ink. We remove trekking poles, liquids, and a knife, leaving items for the end of our trip in the box.

The talkative boy, his shock-absorbed bicycle, off to see his grandmother. He's proud of his bicycle maintenance skills. My thoughts about his absence from school remain unspoken.

The end of the line. We walk out into the bright sunshine towards the post office to mail our box to a place we will visit at the end of our journey. The courtesy of the staff contradicts the dire online reviews.

The thirst. We walk into a pub a few hundred yards from the post office.

The old couple sitting near the door finishing lunch. "How far are you walking?" they ask as we leave.

"280 miles."

"How far have you walked?"

"A few hundred yards from the train station."

The lost credibility. I feel further undermined by our buttoned-down business shirts, well worn, en route to tonight's trash.

The walk through the old-fashioned seaside town towards the beach to a cliff path. I insist the sea should be gray, as it always is. But today it is blue, deep blue, Pacific blue.

The path along the cliff, increasingly rural. We express our delight with the path, the cliffs, the blue sea, the freedom we feel, everything we need on our backs.

The mineral train moving away at high speed as the village gets closer.

The walk through the village, past a museum. I think of the old couple who run the museum to honor the local working class boy who went on to blaze the trail for our Pacific journeys.

The joy this is just day 1 of 23, mile 9 of 280. Tonight I will dream of walking and of kippers on request in the morning.

Note: The "selfie" at the top this post shows us outside the end-of-the-line train station, about to start the hike. We eventually walked 330 contiguous miles in 23 days.

1 comment:

  1. Vivid memories of one of our top ten trips. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, as if it was yesterday. Sweet to recall, but bitter to realize it cannot be replicated.