I have no idea why Jen Walla agreed to be my warmshowers host; she works two jobs, travels to Minneapolis on weekends to study herbal medicine, and contributes sweat equity to keep her rent low. But I am so glad that she invited me into her life. Sometimes you meet a person so genuine she buoys your hope for our entire species.
When I arrived at Jen’s house after my longest travel day, 115 miles, I was happy to rest on the front porch until she arrived from her job at Falls Baking Company, an organic bread supplier. I pulled my bike around back, Jen showed me my room, and I met her cat. Jen explained her interest in herbs, “I don’t see doing this as a profession. I just want the knowledge for myself, my friends, and my family. You don’t always have to make money from what you love.”
Her boyfriend David came over; an ebay entrepreneur. We shared wonderful cheese, exquisite bread, and local beer. We took a walk through town. I was touched by everything Jen said; she had a quiet tone and respect for every element of society and nature, simultaneously empathetic and strong. Alas, I was too tired for a Friday night out, even in Fergus Falls, so returned home to bed.
I didn’t hear a sound when they came home, but a storm blew hard in the night. When I woke the next day, Jen was long gone to her weekend job in the supermarket bakery. She had moved my bike indoors and spread a big breakfast on her table, including another loaf of Falls Baking Company bread. As I ate, I marveled at my gracious host who never seemed to sleep, and mused upon her wise thoughts on tomorrow.
How will we live tomorrow?