LIFE ANGELS: Rural Musings on care and connection

LIFE ANGELS: Rural Musings on care and connection

People often ask,  “What is it like to travel alone as a woman?”

I’m never sure exactly how to answer this. I don’t know what it would be like to travel as any other person. 

What fascinates me though, and what I’m ever grateful for, is that after 45,000 miles I continue to be awed by the way people take care of me in ways I’ve rarely experienced before in my life.

Yes, without a doubt, age and color influence this. If I were a different color or nationality I probably wouldn’t drive alone into many of the rural regions. That’s partially why I’ve committed my life to doing this. Because I can. I can be a woman on the road seeing what’s going on in towns across America. 

It’s pretty astounding that for 45,000 miles and over two years, in every town I’ve been to, save one, life-angels of every class, race, gender, belief system have taken me under their wings and made sure I was safe.

Yesterday was just one of the many times the generosity of strangers, now angels, seamlessly got me through a tough spot. 

Here’s a picture of my most recent Life Angel event.


A couple days ago, as I shut the door to my full-life van outside the office of a woman I met just a week before, I heard glass shatter at my feet. I looked behind me. Glass had blown 8 feet over my shoulder into the parking lot. I turned back and looked at the car and saw a gaping hole where my back window should be. WTF? I stared for a good minute trying to grock that I now didn’t have a window. My mind raced. How could I keep my van safe at night and protect all my life belongings?

This was not looking good.

Then, as has happened so many time before, angels descending, one after the other, making sure my car and I were safe and tended to.

Angel One: I stumbled into the woman’s office. She came out to my car. We both stared at the blown out window. She said, “Let’s go in and talk to Kerry.” Within minutes Kerry had me on the phone with the best glass shop in town.

“The glass will take a week” the owner said, “But we don’t have any place to keep your car.”

“Shit!” A rush of panic coursed through me. It wasn’t safe to keep my car downtown.

I sent a text to the few people I knew.

Angel Two: Mandy, a young woman I’d met once, texted me back within minutes. “Sure, I have a garage. Park your car as long as you need. It’s all yours!” Yay, my car and my belongings would be safe! The only challenge: she lived two miles from downtown.

Angel Three: Oh, this is a most special angel. Susie, the woman who is why I’m here in Roseburg, is actually the town angel. I just get to enjoy the glow of her wings during my time here. The three of us met up at the the city council meeting just blocks away from where I stay. After the meeting, Susie followed in her car to the young woman’s house, then brought me back to the where I’m staying.

Angel Four: Oh, yeah, the fourth angel? He’s the man I ‘ve never met, who donated his house for this project.

It’s pretty wild.

This kinship breaks through any barriers of  race, class, gender and every other possible division. It is divinely orchestrated by the richness of the synchronicity of human kindness in a project that seeks to build connection is forgotten places.  

Thank you road angels!

Post Note: It has now been nearly three weeks and the glass has yet to arrive. It’s somewhere on some road, in some state. No one knows where. There is no tracking. Ah, yes, I’m in the vortex of rural life and am here to stay for a bit.  

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