A Travel Story, a Celtic Rune, and a Road Trip

Today, the Summer Solstice 2022, I woke up in Champerlain, SD, the first leg of a 2-week road trip with our teardrop camper. Welcoming the longest day of the year and excited about finishing the day at a campsite in the Black Hills, I find myself reflecting on a travel story from a vacation I took 40 years ago. Throughout my trip, I’ll reveal this story in installments along with new travel stories. Today, I’ll set the stage.

In the final moments of packing, I grabbed my bag of Celtic Rune stones. Not sure why.. But this morning, I drew a stone to provide reflections for this Summer Solstice and the first day of our camping adventure.

I Lost My Blue Suede Shoes in the Boundary Waters

In February, I received a lovely  card from an old friend, Bobbi, who I hadn’t seen in 24 years. In her wobbly handwriting, she wrote to thank me for keeping her on our holiday card list all these years. “Now that I’m homebound, I enjoy hearing about your family adventures,” she wrote. The last time I saw her, she had just been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and was in the hospital. I remember bringing my infant son in the baby carrier. A shiver ran up my spine—I’d almost dropped her from our list last year, thinking, “I haven’t heard from her in years.”

After updating me on her family’s news, she reminisced about a camping trip we took to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in the 70s—a trip full of mishaps and bad luck. Our mismatched group of 20-somethings set off with high hopes of a wilderness adventure, but we were not prepared for canoeing, portaging, and pouring rain for seven days straight. She mentioned tipping her canoe over and that I left my “blue suede” hiking boots at our campfire. The picture on her card evokes then pristine beauty of the BWCA.

I visited Bobbi at her home in April. She greeted me from her wheelchair with the same bright smile and laughing voice that I remember. Age and disease have taken its toll, but I recognized her immediately. Our conversation started immediately and flowed naturally … the time and distance that separated us quickly vanished. Three hours flew by while we relived our old memories and caught up on how our lives have unfolded. The joy of catching up with her was juxtaposed with the tragedy of her life situation. Except for the additional of medical and mobility equipment, her home looked frozen in time. The same linoleum tile, curtains, and wallpaper she’d picked out when they built their house in 1979 decorated rooms cluttered with boxes and piles of junk … unmade beds. In contrast, I’ve lived in four states and traveled extensively throughout the US and abroad.

Every trip has its challenges and rewards, and I’m sure this road trip will deliver both. Stay tuned for more travel drama—from the past and future.

Sowulo (Sun) Lights the Day

I drew Rune 21, which is Sowulo, in honor of the Summer Solstice. Sowulo (Sowilo or Sowelo) is the rune of the sun. It is the counter-force to cosmic ice in the rune Isa (which I happened to draw on the Winter Solstice 2021). Sowilo represents the force of fire in the physical and mental world. It promotes invigoration, dedication, optimism and persistence in any endeavor. It will ward against the harmful opinions of others to keep the heart focused on its purpose. The rune of guidance, goal setting and success, Sowulo governs the transmutation of thought into energy for action, pursuing the highest values, and
strengthening the hvel or psychic center (Norse word for Chakras).

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