Over the years I have been described by other people in a myriad of ways, some complimentary, some not. That’s life…
But anyone who truly knows me realizes at my core is a need to get things done right…with much persistence. Perhaps my greatest fault is expecting the same from other people.
Today as I sit in the sun eating fried chicken from the IGA in Darrington this is my view to the south.
I have travelled today down river and turned towards to Seattle just 80 miles away.
As I enjoy my meal Angel whispers in my ear “ This time you got it right” and then suddenly disappears.
Flossie left me this morning to join a herd of black ones in a high plateau.
“ See you next year?” but no answer from either, their job is done.
I look up to the mountain top and wonder at what Angel said and suddenly Cassie pops into my head…
”Get out of your comfort zone.”
Last time I had a difficult time integrating with the younger crowd…this time I seemed to fit in most of the time…being told by them that “ I was one of the kids”. They reminded me of my travels when I was their age and somehow I threw off the need of comforts I had become accustomed to. This time I never rented a motel room but instead slept with a pad on the floor, be it in a church, an old building, on gravel, or on a forest clearing with whispering pines high above. On more than one occasion Zephyrus has put me to sleep with rustling leaves over my head.
Tonight I sleep beneath an apple tree in a green grassy field with a wall of wild berries behind me. It might rain a little tonight but who cares…
Before I had a great need for a hot shower every day, this time I relished a freezing cold wash from a hose…just finished that an hour ago.
I ate fewer pastries and was better with my food, my weight dropped a bit more but for my body that was good.
I never once even thought of riding in the van and over the 4295 miles I never got off my bike and walked on ahead. I climbed every hill regardless of the strain.
I learned from the kids how to be truly young again. I relearned how to live in the moment over and over again.
And for some, I taught them to how to ride, how not to fall on steep climbs. I taught them about food and water needs, map reading skills, ways to protect themselves from the heat and the sun. I even taught some of them about history, geography, and flowers along the road.
And today, perhaps the most wonderful thing I taught three or four young ones…how to pick wild blackberries in the warm brilliant sun…for those of you who do not know, those heated by the Helios above have a sweetness over the others by more than 4 fold…try it some time…avoid those in the shadows…
Tomorrow I head west to Snohomish for one nights stay where just like the kids I will sleep on the ground, in a soccer field, after a hose shower next to an outhouse and eat my millionth Raman cooked on a jet boil stove.
This time I know down deep in my soul that finally in the fourth year I have mastered this role.
God Bless Cassie for spurring me on…