I recommend watching this section of the Experts Speak Out documentary with the psychologists and theologian David Ray Griffin describing  challenges that people have in believing and integrating the scientific evidence from the World Trade Center site.  

Sept 7 – Leonard

The most common question I received in Leonard was “How did you end up in Leonard?!”  So I explained the Adventure Cycling Association bike routes, the distances on the road, the need to stop when the sun goes down.  

The people of Leonard were fully engaged in their annual fall festival.  For the first night of the festival, the local bank was providing dinner for the community.  The town was packed with young families - the most small children I’ve seen anywhere on the whole bike tour so far!  Kids were being pulled in a train of little cars behind a garden tractor, competing in a pedal-power tractor pull and playing together in yet another lovely little city park.  I bought some cookies in support of the pre-school fundraiser.  I also received a donation from one of the mom's for our effort.

Leonard was packed with antique tractors for the annual tractor-pull competition.  Contestants competed for how far their well-preserved and renovated antique tractors can pull a big truck on a sled.  I watched for a while, then decided to avoid the diesel fumes.  The roar of tractors and beeping of the tractor smoothing the track went on until nearly mid-night…I was curious and wanted to watch but also needed to rest.  The town finally quieted after midnight.  The annual rodeo with barrel racing, bronc riding and bull riding starts at 2 pm today.

The annual festival was such a focus of the people here that not many questions came to me about the bike tour.  I gave a DVD to one of the bankers serving dinner, and one to one of the mothers watching the children play – she’s from Casselton and said that after she watches it she may pass it on to the fire district there.  In the morning people looked tired and were pretty quiet.

The people in the cafe told me I could find the fire chief and volunteers at the fire station preparing to provide emergency response at the rodeo that day.  I stopped by the station to talk with the volunteers and gave a DVD to the fire chief.  

People in the small towns in ND gave cash donations without seeing the documentary or being aware of the issue except what I told them, I'm guessing out of patriotism or just generosity to a traveller volunteering for a nonprofit.  People gave both food and money.

I love listening to farmers talk about their crops and harvests, the depth of accumulated knowledge - the discussion at this time of year in Leonard was about percentage moisture levels in the corn to be harvested and weight per bushel.  The soybeans are also nearing readiness for harvest.  Soybean plants as they mature change in color from bright green to deepening shades of gold and burnt orange, and the leaves fall off the plants as the pods mature...this is all new to me. 

On the way to Kindred we passed by what looked to me like vast fields of genetically modified corn.  The signs say Croplan Genetics.In Kindred I left DVDs on the doors of the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and gave a DVD in person ro the fire chief.  He was at the station cleaning up.  He said he'd make it available to the firefighters at the next meeting.

I've been touched over the past few days, by the numbers of people who've said that they'd share the DVD with others. Once on the way to Litchville, I had tears in my eyes, tears of gratitude that the word is getting out, and tears of sadness, grieving again what happened on 9/11.  I know from my experience of healing that grieving is an essential component of healing.  And to quote Fran Shure from the psychologists section of the Experts Speak out documentary, we need the truth in order to heal.



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