The weather today was nice and sunny, if not a little cool to start at the Burgaw city limits sign. It was in the upper 40s, but warm enough to not need more than my Salomon windbreaker over a t-shirt.
It was a sort of strange start, since I spent 3 1/2 miles running around the outskirts of downtown Burgaw. That’s where the Mountains to Sea Trail told me to go, so that’s where I went. It was a little bizarre seeing the westward section of the trail two blocks away from where the map told me to turn East.
It’s pretty and sleepy little town, but seemed relatively busy on a Friday morning. I got a few stares running on the running trail. Apparently, that’s not what they use it for in Burgaw. I’ll know next time.
The map guided me past the Piggly Wiggly and out of town, to where I FINALLY headed West for about 10 miles. Right now, I have moments of slight despair that I haven’t made much progress going across the state, due to all the north-south movement.
Carry on, I did, though, and I ran for about an hour and half until I slowed down the pace, to save my legs for the rest of the weekend. No need in wasting all the proverbial ground I have gained on healing, just because I’m excited to be moving faster.
One thing I noticed in this part of the state, that I haven’t noticed here, or really in any other areas, is the number of flags that are flown in the front of the local residences. And not flags with ladybugs or Wolfpack that you buy at Lowes, attach to the side of your house with a wooden flagpole, and leave up for 6 months at a time. These are honest to goodness flagpoles, concreted in the front yard, as if each house was a mini-embassy, with a color guard that comes out every morning at sunrise to hoist the flag, snap to attention, salute its ascent, and pledge allegiance. The flags were crisp and clean. All had obviously just been raised before I passed in the early morning. Some even had 3 poles, surrounding our nation’s flag with the State of North Carolina, Marine Corps, POW-MIA and a couple that I couldn’t identify.
I don’t know each individual’s motivation to fly their colors high and with pride and consistency every morning, but I respect it. I’m so curious as to their “whys”. Who are they honoring. Did they serve? Do they have a child or a sibling or a spouse that was missing in action or a prisoner of war? Are they mini-embassies? And if so, could I ask for political asylum if I needed to use their bathroom as I ran by?
After 10 miles of trail/road, I headed South for the last time. After passing the Moore’s Creek Battlefield, the Mountains to Sea Trail will start to head North towards Raleigh and then West. Instead of pushing on to the historic site, however, we stopped about 5 miles short at the West Pender Middle School, finishing the day at about 17 miles.
Slow and steady. One foot in front of the other. Step lightly. Keep moving forward.