This might come as a complete surprise to you but I am a bit of a planner. I love to think through how each day is supposed to go and then execute that no matter what gets in my way. I think this approach has been a blessing and a curse in my life. In so many ways it has resulted in some accomplishments that I’m very proud of but I’ve never really enjoyed this thing they call going with the flow.
This is one of the things that I’m trying to teach myself on the Trail and it is an excellent place to try it out. I started today as usual. I woke up early and found a great place to watch the sunrise and drink my coffee. After a nice breakfast, I set off on a solo hike into Harpers Ferry to meet some hiking buddies that went ahead earlier. All morning I planned every second of my day in town. I had two packages to pick up at the post office, was going to stay at a hotel near the Trail, hit the laundromat and then to the outfitter for new shorts and shirt. My shorts are falling off of me and my shirt is intolerably stinky.
I got to the post office to find out that my packages weren’t there. The one from my mom was delivered either to a church or someone named church. All we know is that the delivery was accepted by “church”. The letter from Bryan with my ATM card in it is sitting in Columbus, Missouri. The hotel where I wanted to stay is closed down and there isn’t a laundromat within walking distance. To top it off, the outfitter is closed. So glad I spent all morning planning this out.
The pre-Trail Drew probably would have tried to elevate the post office situation to a manager. That never works, right? I would have steamed about the hotel closing and then pitched a fit about my dirty clothes. But that isn’t how I responded and it felt great. As I calmly walked out of the post office, a woman approached me and asked me if I needed a ride. My initial reaction was to shut her down but I paused for a second and said okay. It turns out her name is Laura and she is the owner of the outfitter in town. She opened the store just for me and I was able to get everything that I needed. Okay, maybe a few things I didn’t need as well but it was a fun private shopping experience. On the way back, she dropped me off at a B&B that had a room available. Not only a room, but a room with giant sweet lovable dogs to play with.
It felt fantastic to give into the flow of things and I hope I can make this a habit. I feel like if I can loosen this hard edge then the things I need will find me. People want to help me and I just need to be open to allowing that help in my life. That has been the best lesson for me so far on the Trail. It makes me totally vulnerable and open to this flow of kindness. Has this always been around me and I didn’t know it?
The B&B owners were crazy nice too. They let me do laundry, invited me to dinner and offered up their car for me to use to go to the grocery store. Who does that? They made me feel at home. What is really remarkable about this is that all of this hospitality is happening at a time when this town is completely shut down. All of the stores, restaurants and most of the hotels are shuttered until May 11 but I was able to float through all of this with no problems at all. What’s going on here?
Maybe these towns are just starved for business but I think I’m also putting out some good Trail mojo as well. The woods slow me down and calm my hard edges. I might be learning this flow thing after all.