Sometimes the most wonderful thing in the world is to play kickball…
Today I get up early to be able to spend time at the Oso Memorial just 10 miles down the road. For those of you unfamiliar with this I have included the story from 3 years ago below.
The mountains around Darrington are covered in clouds and mist so I cannot watch the ice caps and snow as I head West.
After a solemn 30 minutes among the memories of the dead I ride on towards Arlington where I will pick up a bike path to Snohomish. This part of Washington is very biker friendly with weaving safe paved paths for walkers, runners and those on non motorized bikes.
About five miles out from Arlington I start to slow only to realize that my back tire is going flat. Just yesterday morning I fixed a flat in the same tire in the forest of Diablo. I could not find the source of the puncture and this worried me a bit. Rather than stop to repair it with logging trucks zooming by I decide to pump it up and try my luck with the last few miles.
20 minutes later in a safe parking lot I discover that yet again, like last year, the inside of my tire had shredded and is about to explode.
Luckily I always care a spare folding tire and with learned dexterity, and the help of another rider, I replace the defective tire.
Moving on, after a pastry to sooth my soul (defective tires trouble me), I find the path and move south surrounded by 30 miles of 6 foot thick walls of blackberries.
Into Snohomish I pull and ride to the soccer field, our nights stay. Just as I arrive a woman is going to her car having picked blackberries along the field’s walls. The basket she carries took 30 minutes to fill, the third for her this warm pleasant morning in the brilliant sun.
After setting up my tent I decide to place a permanent tire on my bike rather than continue to use the temporary one I carry with me. And then it is time for my last hose shower of the summer and a trek into town to find a bakery and a thrift store for my Brom outfit…Brom being the same as Prom but spelled with a “B” for the bikes of course.
With the help of the two Wildflowers who beat me to the thrift store I find appropriate clothes…both saying they have dibs on them after the party is over…
And as for the Bakery? A bread pudding muffin…OMG! Good !!!
Back at camp a Wildflower helps me get dressed. Un be knowing to me the second Wildflower has dressed up as…ME!
As I get ready for my appearance I hear a route leader say
“ Nick didn’t bother to change…he is just going as his Orange Self”.
And then…the Real me appears to the hoot and laughter of the group.
The fake me comes over to give me a hug and the party begins.
I am awarded the certificate as being the “ One most likely to abandon other riders on the road”… a true characteristic of the White Rabbit who with little patience always seems to disappear into the surrounding mist…
After dinner and a celebratory cake
we divide up into teams to play kickball on the soccer field. Now the last time I played I may have been 9 or 10 but my skills, or lack of them, come back to the present time. Over two hours I “get out” every time even with booming kicks, fall three times trying to catch high air balls, and laugh so much there are tears running down my cheeks smearing my powdered face…foot powder from my kit bag…I do have enough senses not to try to run in my skirt…by then a Wildflower had ripped it from my body for herself…
As the sun fades into the ocean to the West some go off to bars to drink but I choose to go to bed…after I wash my face and remove the white pasty mess from my cheeks and the bright orange “ lip stick” from my lips.
So ends the second to the last day of the trip…
Here is the strory from 3 years ago about Oso.
Day 68:Tears of Sadness
Friday August 7, 2015
I can smell it a half mile away. No one else seems to notice until I point it out to them when we arrive. Nine or ten years ago my town was hit by a devastating hurricane. Several were killed and the surrounding area, inundated with water, was divided into several islands. My neighborhood was inaccessible for four days until the waters subsided to reveal the devastation. For weeks following the storm cleanup was the main issue, buildings, homes, cars, businesses, and dead animals. As the weeks passed an acrid bitter smell remained in the air. Decomposition of non organic material , a little like sour newspaper at refuse dump.Today my nostrils are filled again with that smell. We round a bend and there it is, the landslide of Oso. We slow our pace, we decided before we would stop. Ahead there is a memorial set up, 44 evergreen trees with tokens of remembrance by loved ones draped on the young, spindly green branches. We park our bikes and slowly walk to the area of devastation. A gate keeps the curious out, the trees are to the right.
A bench has been set up with lots of odds and ends that at first make no sense. And then it hits like a brick wall…these are items taken from the mud and placed here as a memorial. We stand in silence and tears well up.
I have shed tears many times on this trip, out of thankfulness or joy, but these are tears of pure grief. I look up at the mountain side,now stripped bare and the tears flow. How awful for this mountain to come roaring down to stifle the life of this town.
We turn to walk along the row of the 44 trees, one for each who died. Pictures from loved ones hang on most, with messages in stone. Each is so poignant the tears just continue to flow. After a while we turn back to the road which has now been replaced with a new highway, the old one destroyed. We ride slowly away and I think again ” There are just no easy days”.