I suspect the most comfortable place each of us has been was long ago in our mother’s womb.
Two great novels come to mind as I start this ride in these troubled times.
Tolstoy brought to the forefront in War and Peace the struggles of the common man in the face of advancing history. Over and over again over the past 10,000 years we have seen “leaders” come to power to bring armies of people to slaughter and death. It’s happening now in Ukraine, same place, same forces, same leaders, same common folk dying. The leaders get the credit for forming history while the rest of us prop them up.
Pearl Buck’s Pulitzer winning Good Earth looked past the leaders to the common folk and told stories we have all lived. I have never forgotten the scene of a small frail Chinese woman delivering her baby in the fields and returning to work.
As we read these two stories what comes to the forefront are not the Napoleons of the world but all the rest of us, peanuts by comparison.
We can identify with them through the inherent belief in the Golden Rule.
Kindness is a large component of this identification with our companion souls.
All throughout the ride we will encounter kindness from strangers we have never met before or nor will likely ever see again.
Such kindness has already started on this trip. There is a small store on the railroad tracks just north of the NC border. It has been there for years, the past 20 or so my source for wonderful Virginia peanuts. Each year at Christmas I receive a 25 lb box of their goods from a greatful family I helped take care of a long time ago. Two or three times a year I stop by to refill my pantry .
When the owners found out about the ride the first thing they asked was “ How can we help?” The result …12 lbs of peanuts for the riders about to start.
As we leave Yorktown, the birthplace of America, we will head inland deeper into the womb of the United States. Each day we will find ourselves buried in the kindness of the common man so far away from the history making news. Each day we will be bathed in the warm natural springs of communal humanity and gradually feel that comfort of returning to our beginnings.
We may all be small individual inconsequential peanuts in this world, even those who call themselves “leaders” , but together we are a Family of One.