“It should be built by a mountain stream that flows to the Pacific…and nothing should obstruct our view of the beautiful, snow-capped mountains.”
— Phoebe Goodell Judson
In preparation for my cross-country trek, I added Navigator to my cell phone plan. As I played around with it this week, I thought, “I need to name this voice that is going to navigate the country with me.” Immediately, Phoebe came to my mind.
Wikipedia entry! She was quite an amazing navigator of her times. During the five weeks she and her husband spent in a hotel in Missouri while building their wagon, she argued with the landlady on the use of slaves in the establishment, believing it to be very wrong. During the Indian Wars in the Washington Territory, the family holed up in the fort in Claquato (Claquato is now the site of the historic cemetery where my father is buried). After the wars, Phoebe overcame her fear of the Indians, who had massacred many of her friends and neighbors, learned the Chinook language fluently, and won their friendship. She and her husband adopted an orphaned Chehalis Indian boy and went on to foster-parent several other children. Not finding the scenery up to the criteria of her ideal home in the area where her family settled, and unwilling to settle for less, Phoebe and Hudson eventually left her parents and siblings and moved north, almost to the Canadian border, and founded the town they named Lynden.
I may be going back where I started from, but I am not the person I was then. I expect that from the vantage point of the me with all of my experiences these 35 years away, it will all be enough unfamiliar to fulfill my need for change and adventure; but with that deep-rooted recognition of home. In Gods of Noonday, Elaine Neil Orr wrote, "My bones were made in Africa...I have learned...that the future is behind us." My bones were made in the Pacific Northwest. I have always hoped that the ashes of my bones, at least, would return someday. I am glad to be going intact.
Last night, after a beautiful send-off from my family of friends, I dreamed of introducing visitors to Mt. Rainier. I leave this morning with Smudge and Phoebe. First stop: meeting my new grandson.
Postscript: Follow me across the country on Facebook. I will change my cover picture daily. Several of you have asked about my route. Phoebe took a northern route; mine will be south and will be dotted with connections with dear people from many parts of my life. Three nights in Asheville with son Nicholas and his family and dinner with former Pullen co-worker Ben. I will take a day trip into the Smoky Mt. Nat'l Park, where over my life I have camped with my family of origin, with former husband Ed, with Ed and children, with just children, with former partner Patsy, and by myself. Next stop, a night in Dickson, TN, west of Nashville via Byway 26/70, with niece Lori. Then however long it takes to get to Albuquerque (two nights?) via 26/70 until I decide to hop on I-40 for the duration. Two nights with Raleigh friend Dori, then a right hand turn to Denver. Two nights with Apex friend Charly and a visit with Raleigh friend Porter. A night (?) on the road, then a night in Boise with my sister's college roommate Vicki. Next stop Centralia, where I be welcomed by my mom, Rebecca, Emma, and Wynne. And where I will hang up my keys.
Thank you to Laura and Abbie for sharing their home for the past three weeks. Thank you to Pam for getting my car in top shape and to Dr. Barbour for caring so well for Smudge and her glucose ups and downs this month. Thank you to Grace, Santi, and Vee for throwing me a fabulous party in Grace's beautiful tree home. Thank you for the time, and the meals, with so many friends over these weeks. Thank you to those who came to my sendoff and for memories, goodies, and gas cards! Thank you to those who are coming to Cafe Carolina in a few minutes to see me off. And to all of you who are reading this, thank you for your love and prayers that will accompany me on the Venture. All signs point west.
7 years ago