(Run Across MA Day 6: Nov 9, 2011, Shelburne Falls to Florida, MA, 19.5 miles)
Dried herbs and flowers hang upside down from the walls of the house. Strands of garlic bulbs adorn the doorways, and the pantry is stocked with at least two of each non-perishable foodstuff. The smell of acorn squash baking wafts through the kitchen and into the other downstairs rooms. Coziness is everywhere - wool blankets lay draped over the rocking chairs; a strand of glistening lights shaped like hot chili peppers decorate the kitchen; and a small wooden table for four sits in the corner of the kitchen. Enamored and comforted upon entering into this farmhouse nestled in the forest just west of Shelburne Falls, MA, I speak my first words to my host mom, Clare, "There is such a special spirit in this home!"
Everything about this abode gives me a sense of comfort, of being home, of going back to the womb. I am even more inspired to be in Western Massachusetts because of the generosity and hospitality of a hearty farm family here on West Oxbow Rd. The home is heated by a wood fire, the land out back is currently home to Brussels sprouts, frozen kale, and turkeys hanging out together, at least for another ten days before being on the Thanksgiving day tables of forty local families. What is even more perfect about the scene I have just entered into is that it is dusk, and the full moon is shining its glory upon the faces of us humans and the tree leaves. It's light is so bright that the reflection it makes upon the waxy tree leaves makes it seem like the leaves are covered in snow. What a magic trick!
The farm view from the house:
I'm spent, physically, after my hardest run of the trip so far. Today, I made it up to the highest point of the Mohawk Trail (otherwise known as MA route 2/2A), Whitcomb Summit in, ironically, Florida, MA. I had mentally prepared myself to make this climb, but did not know that the run would be over the steepest, longest road I would have ever climbed - 1,500 feet over 3 miles, every single step uphill. The first 17 miles of the day were among the most scenic of the trip, about half of which were along a secondary road that meandered alongside the Deerfield River. A canopy of orange and red leaf-ladden tree branches protected me the entire day. The trees were talking to me all 20 miles, from sunrise to sunset one language, and now, during the nighttime, another. I've been listening all day to those trees. To the sun. To the river. To the sand under my feet as I picnicked upon a dried up sandy-bottom creek bed. Everything out there in the world was telling me, "Runner Girl, keep going."
Pic of the creek bed picnic:
And now, physically beat, my spirit and soul come even more alive upon stepping into the Specht Family farmhouse, where I am sleeping tonight. So many memories have happened in this home, and they exist in each beam, wall, chair, teapot, and picture frame. Mama Clare, her visiting friend, Huldah, and I join forces to concoct a marvelous dinner - harvested brussel sprouts, pumpkin pie, local chicken breasts, and spiced rice. Team effort. We laugh and share stories, along with exploring through conversation our own connections and callings in this life.
Papa David returns from work and it is time to eat. Not only are our blessings brought to the table, but also our life vivacity. Above all food and words shared, David begins to tell the story of one of his favorite movie scenes, which relates to our topic of conversation - purpose and self-realization. The story goes like this, as per David's retelling of it to me:
In the movie, Hook, Robin Williams plays the real Peter Pan, but he does not realize he is Peter Pan. He is not even aware of his magic and potential as Peter Pan. Williams is sent back to Neverland and greeted by all the characters - Tinker Bell, Captain Hook, Smee, and the Lost Boys - who all see him as the real Peter Pan. Williams has a very hard time believing he is Peter Pan until the youngest of the Lost Boys comes up to him, in a very pivotal point in the movie, and begins to touch and squeeze his face in every which way. The boy looks at Williams for quite a while, so deeply as if he is seeing his soul and purpose and true identity. The boy then says to Williams, "Peter...it is you!"
I have seen this movie, but this scene has not spoken to me as it has hit me tonight. Yes! That is what I am experiencing on this trip across MA! Something is speaking to me, as the little Lost Boy spoke to whom he knew to be the real Peter Pan. This force is aligning my threads and fibers to weave me into my own fabric. This is what I am challenging people to recognize for themselves - who or what is that little Lost Boy to you? Who or what is telling you that you are in your prime? That you are in your element? That you are you while endeavoring in that certain something? That you are in your purpose, and are no longer searching for it? Perhaps it is a person holding up a mirror to you, or nature, or some particular experience you've had in which you have felt most alive?
Along my run across MA, I am in my purpose. I am solo. I am carrying everything, if not more than what I need to survive - snacks, extra clothing, cell phone, toothbrush and paste, water. I'm moving across this land on my own two feet, running, using this action as a metaphor for running with what makes you come alive (and hopefully using it to make the world a better place). Being in my purpose and living it with each step makes me want to do it even more. Reconfirmation. There seem to be a lot of little Lost Boys on this trip for me. The trees and the rivers. The landscape. The communication my kinetic energy has with my surroundings. The feeling that, without words, this world is telling me that I've found the needle to weave my fabric. I must keep sewing. When the little Lost Boy speaks to you, you best believe that there is at least some truth to his words that is worth exploring. Then, take a step. This is the power of the first step - it leads you in the direction your spirit has known all along you should go. Get in on it.
Our conversation wraps up and we are mutually inspired by words and time shared. I trust that each of us were rightly challenged this evening to ask ourselves, "What or who is my little Lost Boy and am I listening to him? Do I even hear him?" I will sleep soundly tonight, up top on the bunk next to the wide window through which the moon glows.
Pics from the road...how gorgeous.