My friend Matthew turned me on to this great little band called Cloud Cult and my favorite song of theirs is called “Chain Reaction” from their 2007 album “The Meaning of 8.” These lyrics ring so true to me and something I think about every day. It goes like this:
“You have eyes like mine. Are we strangers or am I you are I. Put your face on mine. What you feel makes a part of what I’ll feel – it’s a chain reaction. Put out fear and they’ll feel fear. It’s a chain reaction. Put out love and they’ll feel love. It’s a chain reaction. Put your face on mine. “
The last day has been a great example of what Cloud Cult is teaching us. The nice people in Hot Springs put out nothing but love under really challenging circumstances. It turned me right around and I wanted to give that back. When I left today I wrote a long note and left an extra big tip for the innkeepers thanking them for being so kind and welcoming. The first hiker I saw on the trail today got an extra big smile and I told them how happy I was to see them out here. I got a sweet text message from Bryan with a picture of our blooming Ginkgo tree with the outstanding news that there is toilet paper at the Kroger! Talk about putting out love. After I heard that I yelled out into the fog “Everything is going to be okay!”
I got to the first shelter pretty early and decided to treat myself to a short 12 mile day and call it quits. I had a nice lunch and cup of coffee and then had a great hour long visit from a day hiker named Warren Atwood. We chatted about a lot but we really connected about his work with CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children and I shared with him about the great work that CHRIS 180 is doing in Atlanta for foster youth. More of that putting out love thing. It’s really working.
There is not a damn thing I can do to change what is going on in the world but I absolutely can change my reaction to it. If nothing else I can at least acknowledge that fact and try to not transmit more fear. The facts suck but they are the facts. I truly believe that the best way to help each other right now is to be optimistic. Shit – fake it a little if you have to. Wash your hands, keep a healthy distance and pass on hope.
Going to read a book this afternoon that I picked up in Hot Springs and then get up early for a big day to Jerry’s Cabin shelter. Looks like I can get to Erwin TN by Tuesday or Wednesday and I have a box of awesome food waiting for me there and a room booked at the luxurious APPO Mountain Inn. I connected with 4 other thru hikers this afternoon that are sleeping near this shelter with me. There is a mouse in the shelter that sounds like he is in the middle of some big project of some kind so I’m going to leave him be and hope he doesn’t visit me in my tent. He knows I have sour patch kids so that might be an issue. We all had a fun dinner together and going to head out in the morning to catch the sunrise. Or fog rise. 😬