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LOST JOURNALS from the GREAT PEACE MARCH
Page Fourteen

JUNE 4

For the fourth day in a row we walk twenty miles, but today it's in lightning, thunder, and in rain. An awesome storm, buckets of rain heavier than at Red Rocks, sheets of rain thicker than back in the Mojave. But it's not very cold and so we sing, laugh and tell dirty jokes. Paul Ziegler is the funniest guy on the March. We slosh through puddles and make it to camp all soaked to the skin. Thank god it's not cold. All night the rain drives down on our tent. But Beatrice and Benedict cuddle up cozy and warm.


JUNE 6

A twenty-something mile march today. Ever since we left Denver it's been twenty-plus miles every day. These days are now so long and hard I don't even carry my tape recorder. My heavy backpack I remove and dump on the porta-pottie truck: got to walk light. And oh how hot, how burning hot! At a little country store I buy a watermelon - the coldest, sweetest, most heavenly melon of my life. When we get to camp they tell us today's walk was twenty-five and a half miles! A marathon - our longest walk since walking began in LA. Beatrice strides every step, of course. She's the only woman, I believe, who has never missed a day on the march. But oh so weary in camp tonight - ready to drop. And yet in spite of all this exhaustion we two fall into a seizure of passion.

Two for Peace

JUNE 7

Seven days in a row now of walking twenty-plus miles. But I WANT to do it; I want to walk all seven days. I trade my kitchen shift with Freda so I can walk today. And it's another hot one! We all trudge into Sterling, Colorado, our home for tonight. As we make camp, a storm forms right before our eyes. Monstrous dark circular clouds! Hail is on its way, we are told - a tornado almost for sure. Now the rain is upon us, falling so thick and hard we struggle to set up our tents. The wind blows them away... Got to bang those stakes in the ground! "A HAMMER, A HAMMER - WHO'S GOT A HAMMER?" Screams resound around the camp. Blinding bolts of lightening! Awful thunder! And I fail to get most of this on my recorder, damn it! Only at the very end, when I finally find a dry spot in my tent, do I record the thunder, the rain on my tent, the shouts outside.


JUNE 8

A much-needed rest day. A meeting of the radio staff. A truck rolls into camp and on its bed is a hot tub! Someone brought a portable Jacuzzi to the exhausted marchers. And so I soak. But better still I sleep. I'm so damn tired I take a nap in the middle of the day - an hour and a half. First time I've done this on the March. But I'm wide-awake in the evening to record a poetry reading in a bus on a soggy field.


JUNE 9

Kitchen duty for me today - no walk. Just as well. I can rest one more day. I'm still recovering from those seven brutal days in a row. But my Beatrice is out there marching; she never misses a day! I ask Suzanne Mendelson, an artist, to make posters announcing that WQO is broadcasting again. She draws, I color with felt tip pen. At camp I prepare food and unload the storage trailer. But then perversely the rains come again! As hard as we had only two days ago. And now with hail too! The field is flooded; our tents float in water inches deep. Our only shelter is an old abandoned fertilizer factory - smelly, moldy, creepy... Not only fertilizer filth, but bird droppings everywhere. Not one clean spot to sit and rest. No, not an unstained square-inch to sit and eat, and here we are - hundreds of us cooped up like chickens in a shed.

But Shawnee has toiled for hours making a meal so exquisite as to transform this dump into a Taj Mahal. She's made tempeh in a savory sauce, a delicacy, an ambrosia which makes us feel like gods! I am privileged to work on the line serving this meal.


JUNE 10

Wet, windy morning and heavy rain all day. The wind blows hard every inch of the way. Its tough walking in that fierce head wind, but we plod twenty-four miles today. Beatrice and I are together through it all, singing in the rain. Our campground is a disaster, the weather very bad. And so again local people bail us out. We sleep in lodges, churches, houses, busses, cars - anywhere, anything to save us from nature's fury.

Anyone Sleep in a Porta-Pottie?