The Value of a Smile


Last night was the first time we camped outside in tents. We are lucky on this ride only two stops do not have churches hosting us. The night air was cool but refreshing and all felt it was their best night of sleep. The raccoons kept their distance…a miracle.

We are just south of Charleston when we start out…a short 38 mile day but it will be long in time given the transit through the city. A 15 mile bike path takes me to the bridge crossing into town.

I am immediately sent back in time with the Battery homes and make my way to the banks to look out over Fort Sumpter where begun the Civil War.

I try to take the ferry to the island but park rangers refuse to let me take my bike and there is nowhere safe to store it if I take the trip.

Instead I sit on the shore line and imagine the beginning or the War.

Rain is in the forecast so I decide to ride on to cross a long and treacherous bridge. Headwinds of 25 mph and the steep incline cut my speed to 4 mph but I trudge on.

Once across I head due East to an outer island and turn north to hug the shore. This reminds me so much of home on the NC Outer Banks. As I cross back to the mainland I encounter another bridge and look out across the inter coastal waterway as it meanders north.

I find great beauty here .

I was told before the ride from others who had done it that the scenery was boring and bland until reaching central PA. I wonder at their mistake. So far I have found beauty everywhere I have looked.

I remember once being 12 or 13 and going to work with my mother. She at that time was a school psychologist working with handicapped teenagers. I ate lunch with her in the school cafeteria and around me were a multitude of less gifted ones. I naively asked her who of them would ever be lucky enough to have a girlfriend or boyfriend. She smiled at me and said watch them a while.

I did.

And slowly I noticed a few holding hands, whispering to each other, snickering and obviously “ in love”. More importantly I noticed that as each smiled they became beautiful to behold.

On this ride there is beauty everywhere, one must just open their eyes. And if they take the time to do so they will find Mother Nature smiling back at them.