Home again! And within a day I'd had an appointment with a maxillofacial surgeon who 'wired' my jaw back into the approximately correct position, a situation to be endured for a possible 4 weeks. This is so far one of the most painful and unpleasant experiences I can remember, and one I had hoped to avoid altogether, but...
Last Wednesday A.M. I was gathered and ready to resume walking a rather short experimental day, and had a host arranged for that night as well as the next one. But upon waking in the morning I had a 'writing on the wall' moment, featuring physical discomfort, a touch of mental disorientation (beyond my usual AM fog), and the dawning realization that food was going to be a real issue as I tried to drink or slurp enough calories for the task at hand, and over the course of the following weeks or months! Eating had been consistently painful. And how did I know that my injuries would not have further ramifications to be discovered down the road (literally)? The way became clear at that point, and by noon I had a plane reservation and was rearranging gear for a flight back to San Francisco. Arrived early Thursday morning and the various medical appointments happened pretty fast once I got here.
During the preceding week, and thanks to my awesome and gracious Indiana host, I had learned a lot about the American Discovery Trail route through Indiana; the county roads and former rail lines look like beautiful walking and I am more than a little disappointed not to be seeing them this year. But it also must be said that it's good to be home, looked after by family and friends. And, cardinals and fireflies notwithstanding, I do generally prefer the summer weather in these parts!
So -- here's looking at a 3-part pilgrimage, rather than the one or two-year trip I had envisioned. Boundless gratitude to all the many folks who have offered food, shelter, financial encouragement, good wishes and prayers. If it is still in the cards, I hope to resume the trek next spring, perhaps with a heightened appreciation for the vulnerability of this fleshy vessel!!