Almost on the journey—a new phase of life

Travel Journal: 2021-04-28, Poulsbo, WA

Our belongings were packed yesterday, and now I’m sitting in one of three chairs in the house, in the Bear’s den where every morning for 14 years (a presence that was broken up by Navy and Marine Corps assignments) I have sipped coffee and written my thoughts, practiced my activism, and learned from God a little of who he is and little of what I should do.

The time at Poulsbo, WA has been rich: Judy and I matured our relationship to one that is pleasant, loving and with the understanding of each other’s thinking and needs that occurs when two people have lived intimately for seventeen years and have argued, loved, planned, and learned together. We’ve also engaged with our community—me with activists for environmental and nature causes (West Sound Conservation Council, Kitsap Audubon Society, Washington State University Extension), her with church people in Bible study groups (Keyport Bible Church and elsewhere), us with our dance friends (USA Dance Kitsap, Winter Club). Plus, we’ve hiked the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and have been witnesses to some of God’s sublimity.

We’re leaving our forever home overlooking Port Orchard Bay, as if two gypsies—her of Canada to Australia to the United States bent, and me of Navy son and Navy doctor bent—could ever settle for life in one place without wanting to journey on and see new places and cultures.

Where to—this next phase of life? In a few days we’ll be on the Oregon Coast with our son, daughter and three grandchildren, and we’ll see our other son in Vancouver, WA. That’s a fine start to what will be a sight-filled one-year journey around the United States, visiting our country’s many natural wonders. It’s a bit of a leap, leaving friends and activities and heading cross country in a trailer, but it’s one we can make—given our current financial ability, health, and relationship.

I’m excited. Each week will be in a new national park or near a wildlife refuge or a national historical monument. While we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, we’ll imbibe the miracles of God’s nature and learn more about his beauty, love of live and variety of life, interconnections, and timelessness.

We’re excited. Judy and I have entered a new phase of life. We have some slight concerns—will our health (my eyes, Judy’s gut) be OK for the one-year-or-more duration of the trip, and will we be able to get health care now that we’re away from our Naval Hospital Bremerton refuge? This is not something we had to think much about when we were younger, but now life’s physical realities in our sixties/late fifties —my back aches and my pee frequency, for example—creates a body-stuff-that-must-be managed reality.

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