Yesterday my friend Jan and I were heading up to Speely Beach when we spot the crew from Seattle, King channel 5 filming on Penn. Avenue Roslyn for Evening Magazine. Part of me wants to approach the three men working cameras and light reflectors. A larger part makes me do nothing, so it is only with a few prompting words from Janet's good intention that I am scribbling out a few details of my walk on a piece of paper and moving toward the men standing across the road from the well known camel mural. After a brief wait while John Curly gives details about Roslyn to the rolling camera, the four of us are shaking hands. Half an hour later I am outside The Brick with CrowDog strapped on and buckled to my back and a big kid's grin drawn across my face with a Sharpie marker.
Tonight on The Evening Magazine at 7p.m. I will have a small spot answering a few quick questions about this transcontinental walk across America. Oh, I pull out all the wrong words. A cold stole my voice so I sound like I ate a sock, and my clothes look like they have just tumbled out of the dryer but it doesn't matter. I am in Roslyn.
The camera rolled as I walked past the Northern Exposure totem pole, away from the camel standing in the Roslyn palms. Somewhere inside me this kid I used to know is sitting up straight and beaming with a thousand new eyes. For ten minutes of filming I am the stoned moose from Northern Exposure walking on four wobbly legs (two are hiking poles), moving past century old facades, feeling nothing but this huge glow in my chest that is leaking out in my expression. Janet is on the sideline shining at me with her camera moving on and off her pretty face. In my head I sense the Navajo children standing all around me, each one moving toward the movie camera toward their own reflection. I smell a thousand campfires burning and the punk of damp wood stuttering toward that burn, Amish families I stayed with are smiling away from the lens but still smiling modestly into their clothes. Cajun music swarms around my head in a small cloud of spiced wasps, as I look up at the long beaked bird grinning down at me from the totem pole, feeling every river I have ever crossed moves in and around my feet. How funny it is that I used to think I could walk across America alone.