Hannah the Penguin

Image description: Hannah the Penguin in my tent one night.

On day 13 of my journey I left my camp spot in Twentynine Palms and set out towards the Glass Outhouse. Knowing there would be no services for over 100 miles, I stopped at a grocery store to resupply my food stock.

After picking up enough food for the Mojave crossing, I left the store and found a little nook in the parking lot to re-pack my bag. As I puzzled to fit an extra 5 day’s food, a woman approached and, seeing my sign, began chatting.

After a few minutes we learned that I have the same first and middle name as her late mother. The woman, Deena, felt it was a sign. “I was feeling my mom’s energy earlier, she must really be working it this morning!”

We shared a few moments talking about her mom, my walk, and climate change, until she said goodbye and walked into the store.

About two minutes later, just I had finally fit all the food in my bag and strapped her shut, Deena came back out holding a festive stuffed penguin.

“My mom loved penguins, and I saw this first thing when I walked in the store! Can you take it with you?”

With barely enough space in my pack for food but not nearly enough heart to deny Deena, I accepted the penguin.

Deena was thrilled. “Now my mom will be with you. She’ll keep you safe.”

I very genuinely thanked her, tearing up at the thought of a passed Hannah being with me on my journey. I squished the penguin, who I have named Hannah (after Deena’s mom, not myself…) into my pack and said goodbye to Deena.

It wasn’t until hours later when I called a friend from my tent that I cracked up about the whole situation. I’m laughing as I write this, two weeks later, as Hannah the penguin sits in the bottom of my pack.

When I tell people about the penguin they generally laugh and urge me to get rid of her or give her away. Although I could use the extra space, I will do no such thing.

6 thoughts on “Hannah the Penguin

  1. Hannah,
    That is the sweetest sign and gesture and I would definitely hold on to Hannah!!! I know you’re journey is soulful, purposeful and not easy but all these beautiful gestures bestowed upon you has to “lighten your load” with so much meaning. Thinking about all the lovingkindness you have and will encounter is overwhelming and awe inspiring!! Sending you much love and warmth this Christmas week.
    Love, Jane

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  2. Great story! Besides the impact a long walk has on the climate crisis, this is also why we March. Ed

    On Mon, Dec 21, 2020 at 12:30 PM Miles For Climate wrote:

    > Hannah posted: ” Image description: Hannah the Penguin in my tent one > night. On day 13 of my journey I left my camp spot in Twentynine Palms and > set out towards the Glass Outhouse. Knowing there would be no services for > over 100 miles, I stopped at a grocery store to ” >

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  3. Just found your blog and intend to follow your entire journey. For you to share this with us by way of blogging is an unbelievable gift you’re giving the world. Love the penguin story (my new daughter-in-law’s name is Hannah….I adore that so many wonderful people share the same name) but your honesty in your struggles reminds me of Cheryl Strayed. You go girl. And good for you for not getting rid of the penguin.

    Like

    1. Hi Lisa!
      Sorry for such a delayed response! Thanks for your comment, and for the comparison to Cheryl 😍
      The penguin has turned out to be a great friend of the road haha! So glad to have you following along.

      Liked by 1 person

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