Monday, June 02, 2014
This railroad spike I picked up is my souvenir of the great adventure.
I was at a mini-conference yesterday. About 16 of us. Discussions, a couple of meals, I don't know about you but I just love breaking bread with a crowd around a table. The host's house was big enough to seat all of us together at a huge table. I love when people you don't know very well shine the light on themselves and share their passions.
There was a mid-afternoon break and an older friend and I decided to go for a walk together. Others did the same, little mini-groups breaking up into conversational units and toddling off. The day was glorious and we had about 45 minutes to kill before the next discussion.
Friend and I explored an old railway bed trail and hit one of those moments - does this trail go round in a circle and then, like a fool, immediately answer the question for yourself - of course it does!
The trail went on and on and on. No turnoff, no circling. One continuous long straight line. My chief concern was Ansa, the wonder-dog, who is aging and arthritic. My next concern was we did not bring our cellphones or money or water or even phone numbers of people who were at the event or the host herself. On and on we trudged.
Finally we hit a side-road off the trail, a steep winding hill. By that point we were knackered. Yes, we're each of us training for the Tely 10 but did NOT expect to be plunged into Iron Women status in week 1 of training with 8 more weeks to go.
At long last we hit the main road, puffing after the long climb. I calculated we were about 5 miles from the house. Ansa had slowed dramatically. Admiring something off in the distance, Friend tripped and fell. Planked herself on the shoulder of the road would be more like it. We've no sidewalks in Newfoundland - did I tell you that already? Tough people don't need 'em. NOT!
So I pick her up, dust her off, give her my sweaty bandana as a bandage for her bleeding hand and we stumble on. Finally we see a man checking underneath his jeep on the shoulder ahead of us. We explain the situation and he immediately herds us into his vehicle, all consideration for elder-dog, he even offers to lift her in.
Turns out he's an engineer in from Calgary for a short term contract and between all of us we find the house where a search party had just been formed and were all lined up on the driveway, ready to scatter in several directions. Some started to cry when they saw us, they were so upset and figured we'd had a dreadful catastrophe befall us. They had called our mobiles and noticed our purses, left on the floor of the hall, ringing back at them in merriment. Panic then ensued. We were missing nearly 3 hours and husband of Friend calculated we had covered 10 miles of rough, rugged terrain.
All of us agreed it was one mighty story for the grandchildren.
I was the after dinner speaker and I spoke on the metaphorical nature of our walk - no side-roads, no twists and turns. The ocean on one side of us, brush and forest on the other. To leave the trail would have been rushing into unknown madness.
We had to persist. Right to the end. Much like when we nurture a dream, a vision, a goal.
And the spike?
It symbolises the strength and survival residing in all of us.