As I left
Bellingham I carried a Xerox of a county map. I would need it to find my way
along the country roads that were otherwise unmarked.
I met Mom on the
outskirts of Bellingham, and we made our last safety checks. I assured her I
was feeling O.K., and she assured me she knew the way and was O.K. herself. She
left for the town of Blaine, 20 miles for her, 22 for me. I watched the red
truck as it pulled out of sight. It was leaving me behind for the last time.
Now all I had to do was run to where that little truck was going. After that it
would be over.
followed the county roads on the map. In the distance I could see the mountains
I knew to be within Canada. And with every step I got closer. I could smell
victory closing in.
I raced a horse
and buggy along the road near Ferndale. The driver didn't seem to notice me
till he had finally turned into his driveway. I kept up a steady pace with the
animal. I tried hard, but I wasn't able to pass the horse.
Near a high
school a bystander asked if I were a student there. The question reminded me of
the date, for I would soon be a student. But for the time being I was a runner
and put all other thoughts out of my head. I wanted my mind to be clear to
reflect and ponder the events that had happened in the last two months of my
The land around
me was magnificent. And now it seemed even better. I would have to grasp the
sights I saw and hold them, in hopes that one day I would be able to savor them
in my memory. I was closing in on Blaine. It was within sight. Only a couple of
As I drew closer,
I wanted to cry, to weep, to yell or scream—some sort of emotional release. But
it wouldn't come. It just stayed in my head. Within the last 5,280 feet, my
head was on fire like a man feeling his life coining to an end, everything that
had happened to me on the trek passed through my mind. I was ablaze with the
joys and the pains. Everything was there.
I could see the
Peace Arch in the distance. The Peace Arch, that gleaming white memorial to the
continued peace between two great countries, marked the border, the nation's
line, the 49th parallel and the realization of a dream.
Mom had not found
the actual boundary line yet, and as I passed her she yelled for me to wait.
But no single power on the face of the earth could have stopped me then. I
hoped that Mom would understand as I sped past her, determined.
I raced on to the
green grass on which the memorial rested. Proudly, I ran straight, with a
single spot on the grass in my mind. An invisible line stretched before my