Thursday's One Good Thing involved flirting. I haven't done that in awhile and it felt good. The last few days seem to have been about connections. No matter how temporary or tenuous, they do get made.
A great friend let me crash on her couch the night before the big walk. I didn't sleep much but that had more to do with anticipation than anything. We laughed long and hard that night. The gala was so much fun. We ogled a man in uniform, chatted with Olympians, applauded the brief speeches, sampled wine and delicious food. I love the view from the top of Queenston Heights. There's so much history there, it's impossible to ignore. Not just the history of a people coming into their own identity, and the realization of how vital that identity was, but personal history too.
Canada is on the left of the river, the United States on the right. The river still takes my breath away.
On our way home, we drove down to the river's edge and spent some time with a fox kit. It was summer solstice and he lay at the edge of the trees, dozing in the setting sun. There was something incredibly magical about all of it, and profoundly peaceful.
The morning dawned ridiculously early, and me with it. Up, dressed and out the door by 530 so I could start the walk with hundreds of others. I wasn't the only one in costume but I did seem to attract a lot of attention. I gave up trying to figure out why and smiled for all of the photos. 2km into the route, a woman gave me agorgeous bouquet of roses from her garden. They were a lovely antique pinky cream. I carried them for quite some time, all the way to Niagara College, which is just under the halfway point of the 32km trek. Then I passed them off to my mom for safekeeping.
We were so blessed with historically accurate weather (hot and humid), fantastic volunteers who made sure everyone got to the end safely, quick acting medics, enthusiastic walkers. Honestly, as a group, we kept each other all going. Joey the dog trotted along beside us all the way to the college. I lost sight of him and his owner there when I stopped to fill up my water bottle and connect with a few other people. A woman in a knee brace and walking sticks made the entire distance. Her determination and enthusiasm was inspiring. I shared salted nuts with a man in need of knee support. He hadn't really prepared his body for the walk but after getting medical treatment at one of the way stations, he went on. Three sisters continually played leapfrog with our group as did a couple from up north. We had to stop a few times and attend to things but overall, it was a satisfying day. Every single time I thought of quitting, and there were a few, someone usually bolstered me and kept me going.
The day was full of good things. Water when we needed it. Shade when we were desperate, humour on the part of everyone we came in contact with, plastic, wool and stuffed cows all seemed to travel together. So many friendly faces. All the different shades of green in the forest. The vibrant shades of blue, purple and yellow on the various weeds through the fields. The welcome red of the volunteer tees. Big big smiles and cheers as we passed by people. The welcoming committee on the bridge. Sure, they were waiting for the Prime Minister's Wife but I knew most of them. Their familiar faces were a boon. There was wooded hills and benches made from trees. Wide paths. And the smell of all the wildflowers. The smells were so good.
Sunday was a quiet day spent recovering. One Good Thing about all the tossing and turning I did that night was it kept me from getting stiff and sore. Apart from exhaustion, heatstroke and hyper-hydration, I felt pretty good. All those weeks and weeks of practice walks did their job. Most of the day involved slow stretches and deep thought about the people I'd met along the journey - Saturday's 32km and the four months I've been on Team Laura. I'm so incredibly blessed.
Today's good things were as profound yet less dramatic. Tidying up her kitchen while I chatted with my mom. Weeding around the freesia that has finally started to show itself by the back step. Dinner with a good friend. Snuggling on the couch with Ky, Milo and Yoda all at the same time. We broke a few house rules doing it but they deserve my attention after so much benign neglect.
It's odd. We weren't walking for a cause. It wasn't a fundraiser. It was reliving history in our own way. There was a great deal of community support. Lives were changed. Never doubt that you connect people and events, that you impact those around you. YOU are important. Vital. Necessary.