Vulnerability and Security: Two Sides of A Coin

4/21/22

A warm ,dry, Spring day…late afternoon…the scent of Wisteria overwhelms…

…crickets chirp, bees buzz , crows call out to to each other in puzzlement at the cacophony of noise from  nearby …

drunk, lodged in the hook of an old oak tree, singing away without a care in the world, her cow, Flossie ,munching away on grass somewhere out of sight….

my mother…after downing a fair amount of her father’s home made wine…

Covid has finally eased itself out of sight and with any luck I soon will again be on a cross country trek. Training is going well, up to 50 miles a day. 

Today I realized it was time to go find Angel and Flossie  …I need to break the news to them, they too must get in shape for the upcoming ride.

Wondering where they have been over the past two years I think of their significance.

Cassie, my Dear Cassie, goaded me into the second, third, fourth and so on rides by telling me to “get out of your comfort zone”…I thought the first of 4000 miles many years ago would suffice….how wrong I was…

“Getting out of a comfort zone “ is an understatement…it’s more like the scouring of a  soul to the core. Each mile strips away more and more of the quotidian veneer until only the  “I” is left…

To be alone in 400 square miles of Eastern Montana with 30 mph headwinds and 30 miles to go… to be drenched in cold rain surrounded by crackling lightening and thunder on the Great Plains…to be in the sixth hour of 7 hour mountain climb with no leg strength left to get to the top…  to be coming down the other side at 45 mph praying there is no deer or moose just around that curve…

a soul stripped to the core…vulnerable and alone…

Children have discovered a wonderful safe way to deal with being in that state, a “ security blanket”…a cherished stuffed animal, favorite piece of cloth or rag, a shredded multicolored ribbon…

What we may not appreciate is that we never really give up those safety nets as we age…they are just  transformed…

In later life the little girl stuck in the tree, whose security blanket was a tin box full of coins, 

would often apologize to me for her lack of mothering…it is true, she was not the nurturing type… material goods, money and status were “her thing” …but she , with the help of NUNS, made me who I was to become. She taught me the value of hard work, goals in life and perseverance in the face of adversity to reach those goals. 

For that I owe her gratitude. 

I often listened to her stories of growing up and Flossie, her cow,  seemed ever present…perhaps this beast was something safe for her in her troubled life…a tin of coins was just not enough…

Beside her teaching at home I was sentenced  Catholic school at a very young age and partially raised by NUNS. As I grew older I rejected the male dominated Catholic Church and the concept of sin and eternal hell but did retain something from those times…the gift of a Guardian Angel.

I was always fascinated by the idea of a Protector close by and just never let fade the idea of my own Angel …I am not quite sure if Angel is HE or SHE…St Thomas Aquinas argued on how many  could dance  on the head of a pin but left the concept of gender aside …

As I grew older Flossie, from of my mother’s life, and Angel, from Catholicism, just followed along somewhere deep down inside.

Security blankets are good to have when you are alone…beacons of light to guide you in the darkest of times…

So now I need to go find mine again and get them in shape for the ride since it is they who will protect me over and over again speeding down the curving mountain side…

PS:  For my next story I will share the eulogy I read at my mother’s funeral. ..she certainly did mold me to become  the person who I am…someone who would dare take on these crazy cross country rides…over and over again…

PPS:  For new Readers unfamiliar with Flossie and Angel feel free to peruse stories  from previous rides…they can be found by going back in time on this site…