In order to post my blog, I have to go to a coffee shop in Mt. Shasta. Dial-up won’t even load the WordPress homepage. This may seem like a pretty ordinary act to access the internet from a coffee shop, but in Mt. Shasta it is anything but ordinary. Like so many places heading into the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Shasta is a pitstop for young vagabonds and its coffee shops are their headquarters.
Someday I hope to really write about them, to ask them questions and listen. Until then, I’m just enjoying eavesdropping at the coffee shops here in town. I’m learning where the best exits to hitch a ride are, watching as they hit on each other, uncertain if they’ll ever meet again, hopeful maybe to join forces and face the big bad world together. Many of them seem lonely. I watched one young backpack-clad man walk up and down the main stretch three or four times, his eyes and quick smile filled with eagerness to talk to someone, anyone.
I will always remember a different kid with eyes like my brother’s, sitting on the street corner in Portland with a sign asking for money. It was hard to look at him, so young, and not wonder what brought him to that corner. I do not think he would have wanted me to feel sorry for him, I think instead he would have wanted me to understand his story. In the words of someone on the fringes of this life, “For some, it would really be death to their souls to go back to wherever they came from, for others it is just a way to travel.”
Either way, I want to learn their stories.
Today’s Mount Shasta moments: