Walk to Paris: Day 12

Monday, November 23, 2015 – Houdan to Thoiry

We wake up to our coldest day yet. I am still recovering from yesterday’s bout of gastrointestinal joy. But my gut signals that we are clearly on the mend, and I am thankful.

. . . on a mud and grass pathway.

. . . on a mud and grass pathway.

Our first sign for Paris . . .

Our first sign for Paris . . .

Once out of town, our path is along grassy roads that run by the tracks. The trains run every 15 minutes or so. They are fast and quiet, efficient and popular. I wonder what it will take for America to embrace train travel.

The night’s freezing temperatures have left behind a fairy-like veneer of frost. It glistens on the grass and crops, then melts in the mounting sun. The puddles along our path are garnished with a thin film of fragile ice. It’s all a bit magical, and with the sun warm and the wind still, I have no complaints.

Frost on the crops

Frost on the crops

But it is cold, and this is only the second time I’ve worn all four layers, plus my gloves and scarf. I am comfortable, and the residual weakness from yesterday seems like a small price to pay for the honor of walking through such beauty.

There’s so much to be thankful for, it’s a pity we don’t make Thanksgiving a monthly holiday to remind us.

Rose hips and pine cones

Rose hips and pine cones

It’s odd to be away from home for one of my favorite feast days. I feel a need to celebrate Thanksgiving with other Americans in Paris. So, I reach out to my friend from Des Moines, Wilson Tarbox, who offers a clever idea:

“I don’t know how you feel about Indian food for Thanksgiving dinner, but there is a great Indian place right next to my apartment building. Also, I think it would be funny on a linguistic level for a couple of Americans who had just come on a long journey to eat with the ‘Indians’ for Thanksgiving.”

Funny guy, Wilson. And great idea. I accept, even as my mind comes back to the difference between early European settlers in America and, say, 11 million Syrian refugees.

With every prayer of thanks comes a prayer of hope. Mine is that even as we Americans give gratitude for the incerdible bounty of our land, we realize our obligation to share that bounty with those who are less fortunate, whether they are our immediate neighbors or from halfway across the globe.

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