Dec 10, 1999


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Update from Grand Falls-Windsor, Nfld

December 10th 7635k behind me 440k to go

You know you're in Newfoundland when your waitress
calls you "my love". In Nova Scotia, it was "buddy",
so it appears that the further east you go, the more
aggressively loving the restaurant staff become.

Too bad there's not another province east of
Newfoundland, because I could sure use a hug these
days. But the rock has embraced me in other ways so
it's not so bad. And besides, Jane arrives on the

Here I am in Grand Falls-Windsor after 480k of some
pretty remote sections of the Newfoundland Trans
Canadian Highway system. One day, I did 50k and didn't
come face to face with a single soul. Except for a fox
- do they have souls?

It is December now and you could reasonably expect
some poor weather out here. I've had my share of wind,
snow and freezing rain. But I'm still on schedule and
haven't yet used up even one of my 6 "storm days".

My thanks to Juanita Brake at the Best Western Inn in
Corner Brook, and Mike Walsh at the Highliner Inn here
in Grand Falls for sheltering me for a couple of
nights. I use the down time to do my prepping for the
days that follow. It's such a high to reach an Inn
after many days of travel. Especially if there's a
package waiting for me with an incredible "Summary of
1999" newsletter from some friends in Vancouver! Wow.

My next stop is the Hotel Gander in 3 days where
Debbie Mouland and Diane Stein are taking care of me.
I'll likely be ecstatic to arrive as our weather is
setting up for 3 days of snow. Hooray. Then it's only
11 travel days to St. John's. Unbelievable...

I'm reading a sci-fi trilogy of Red Mars, Green Mars
and Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. In Book 1,
Robinson brings up this concept:

HAECCITY means "thisness"; "here-and-nowness"; the
particular individuality of every moment.

Sometimes I have let the "goal" of reaching St. John's
overshadow the "act" of reaching St. John's. Whenever
I take a moment to live in "Haeccity", I usually
smile. Every moment has a special feeling, and
sometimes I pause to feel it, fully.

Do you often neglect the "here-and-nowness" of
individual moments? I suspect we all do. May I be so
bold as to challenge you over this holiday season? I
challenge you to stop for a moment at some point with
your loved ones, or by yourself, and just look around
you. Feel the "thisness". Live only in that individual
moment. Reach into your senses and experience
everything that moment offers. If you enjoy it, maybe
it's something you'll do again.

Christmas Eve is only 2 weeks away. I've decided to
spend this special evening in my tent somewhere close
to St. John's (like I have a choice!). I will use my
time that evening and the following day to do formally
(and perhaps ceremoniously?) what I have been doing
informally for most of this journey. I have a huge
list of people who mean something special to me and I
will dedicate a moment of time to thinking of each of
them. If you are wondering if you are on this list,
then you probably are. It's a special Christmas moment
I look forward to with great excitement. In this way,
these people have all given to me a special treasure
of being themselves. I will thank them for their
particular individuality, for their "isness". I am a
lucky fellow to have such a very special list of
special people.

As I write this update, it's a crazy scene of
Christmas craziness surrounding me in the Grand
Falls-Windsor Mall. The seasonal tunes are blaring.
The frantic shoppers shop. "Treasures" are for sale by
the truckload in this mandatory gift-giving time. But
I am a visitor here. An outsider. As I am an outsider
to Christmas shopping, in general. Who or what will
suffer if I do not participate commercially in this
holiday? I can still choose to celebrate the occasion.
I can do so in my own way. Right?

I encourage you to do something very uniquely personal
this holiday season. Remember there is no greater gift
you can give than by simply being yourself. Do that.
Fully. We all win when we express ourselves in unique
ways. Hopefully you choose some sort of joyfullness as
a theme, but it's not mandatory.

Nothing is really mandatory.

Find your message. Deliver your message. Live it and
love it like it was the most important thing you could
do in that individual moment.

Merry Thisness!
Kevin Thomson

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