Great Falls Montana 7 days prior to departure. I received an email from Lisa, it was to inform me that she was heading to Seattle for personal reasons (none negative) and after a few phone calls, we agreed to meet in Helena, Montana at 6 am on September first. What I knew: Lisa is an artist, Lisa has a van, Lisa is older then me. PERFECT!
6 am came incredibly early for me after only 6 hours of sleep in a 48 hour period, but Lisa had me covered, she brought a carafe of coffee and she had a bowl of something extremely good, I think it was vegetables cooked in Coconut oil, oh man it was awesome. So with introductions and coffee out of the way we set off on the first leg of my journey on a chilly, dark , Montana morning.
The road stretched out before us and conversation became easy between us, we talked of sustainability, of things spiritual and shared our stories. Lisa, is a magnificent artist and you only need talk to her for an hour or so to see why, her life, while not easy has been navigated by a beautiful soul, very much believing and living her ideals. She informed me of Akido of ways to and people to speak to about sustainable living.
The morning wore on, but not in the way that many find exhausting , the sun rose over laughter, coffee and excellent conversation as it drifted down the I90 corridor . Our first stop for Gas was in a town called St. Regis Montana. There on the exit ramp sat a woman, with tired, yet bright eyes, thumb to the wind and ready to take a ride to the next city. Lisa looked to me and asked “should we pick her up?” , “would you be alright with that?.” of course the answer was yes! I took this trip, so I could take chances, to see life as it really is and the road had no intentions of failing. The girl, it seems was accompanied by two gentlemen who we also picked up. They were bound for Spokane or Kenniwick, to find work. Their story was very eye opening to me. The oldest man had been a logger and a service man, who had, like you and I dreams and plans and goals for his life, one small move can make the sky tumble down and fall around us. My heart jumped when Lisa, turning in her seat looked to the man and said “thank you for your service and for defending my freedom” I cannot explain how that one single moment said so much more then the sentence she spoke, how from this gratitude came from her heart and there was no shame in speaking these words. How what most of society would see as riff raff, Lisa had no problems giving thanks and respect where it was deserved. Before we had left the gas station she had purchased food and milk for the travelers, I did not have much for my trip, but I did have flat bread and hummus and so I contributed to the stash of food with such.
We dropped the travelers with smiles and a hug in the city of Spokane, a little ways from the shelter, but not too far, the sun had climbed to a higher point in the sky and the road beckoned us on. Feeling bittersweet but happy and content knowing that here, I had witnessed, exactly what my heart had been needing to know, that there were still people out there, still those who cared, beyond the people I have chosen to surround myself with, you can still find them when it is only chance controlling the wheel.
And so we went, the high desert of Eastern Washington sprawling around us, speaking of different things , I learned much from Lisa,She spoke of Native heritage and religions and she knew of the stones which built up like bricks along the highway. Near Ellensburg Washington we stopped at a fruit and antiques shop and browsed, the sky was blue and a simple tune played in my head. Already, so soon into my trip my mind began to still, yet take in everything as an observer would. Soon enough, we would reach Bellevue and our trip would end (plans had changed when I was in Portland so I did not get the joy of returning to Montana with her) I said goodbye to Lisa in a strip mall Parking lot in Bellvue, watching as she pulled away and started the rest of her own adventure. She left me, with my heart full of joy and my head full of her life and she left me begining to appreciate what life really is. Thank you so much Lisa, I am so thankful for our chance moment! I hope everyday on your journey brings you peace and happiness, Both you and your love!