Amy sat beside us around the fire pit. I had done the same thing about 30 minutes prior. It was there a met John, Shawna, Greg, Jeff and their collection of kids and grandkids. They were from the Central Valley where smoke from both fires settled and stayed.
Amy came alone. But my wife and I learned she was traveling with her 78 year old dad and 15 year old son. I also sensed she packed a lot of baggage that she had been carrying since her son was born early after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in utero. Fresh out of college, her son came into her life around the same time his father left.
As everyone retired for the night and went back to their respective hotel rooms, I sat with Amy and my wife, and talked until the propane tank ran out of gas. And then we talked some more, long after the hotel manager rekindled the fire with a new tank.
Most of what I learned about Amy I can not repeat without betraying her trust. I can say she’s 44, single mom, and works doing behavioral therapy with preschool kids in the Head Start program. She has a good understanding of life, but just doesn’t like the way life works. I understood her completely. She also loves Michael Franti, who sings about...love.
Amy has kind eyes that both tired and compassionate. She has a warm smile that is also tired and compassionate. And a gentle heart, which I suspect is tired too. But compassionate.
Off Highway 101. In dog friendly hotel. We shared our hearts. We shared our faith. We shared our fire. As the Spirit of love burned warm and brightly. Some strangers pass like ships in the night. Then there are the other ones. Like Amy.