Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blessed are the Pilgrims

Listening to a 35 year-old song in a 26 year-old van I feel like a historian trying on the artifacts. 

He is riding in the rain, a downpour so powerful that it drowns out the music and the rattle of the old motor jangling on broken mounts in the chassis.  A rain so complete, that I imagine there is no space left for the air he is sucking as he climbs the long grade into Taylor county.  Loaded down with full racks, he is not the visionary or the vagabond, but a rider prepared for the journey.  Is he a one-day epic artist or a cross-nation explorer?  Despite the sheets of water and the speed, I can see this is a young man.

I want to pull over and offer him something, and why is that? To see the pilgrim on hajj is to see free will flexed, and what inspires more than free will, enjoyed and asserted?  In my instant assessment I determine he needs nothing I have, and truthfully, it makes more sense to stop and ask him, "What can you spare for me?"  Can you part with a little courage? Afford me a small handful of freedom from fear? Peel off a bit of ache in the knees, and the conviction to ease up just a tad, but keep going through the rain to a soaking campsite and a camp-stove under the fly to warm the spirits.  Perhaps a little extravagance of rum stuffed in a sock and stashed in a cook pan? Brother?  Can you help me?

Sitting at the San Felasco trailhead, with the bike in the back, I watch it rain and rain, and I can't be bothered to unload for a sloppy, slow grind that won't be enough to break me from the tethers that keep me from tumbling off the earth. 

The truth is I am a working man, who owns a bike.  I like to ride it when I can, but it's raining today and my dress shirt hangs ironed behind my head, and people are expecting me to help them tomorrow, with things I can't ignore.

So is this still the adventure?  Is he killing time, or am I?



Buzz said...

Jaunnnnccchhhooooo! This is STILL the adventure. Killing time? No. Time anxiety is the killer and that happens *inside* of each of us.

Keep climbing...altitude in the energy bank. Use it wisely. Potential going kinetic at a venue near you soon.Be there.



Elizabeth said...

I love your writing.

Magnum said...

A gateway decision, not riding in that slop.

nicol said...

Next time be sure to get out of the car, even if it's only a short slop.

But who am I to say.

reverend dick said...

I'd say you made the right call in your circumstances by not taking the dousing. I'd say he, in his, did the same.

When you're traveling, what else is there but the journey? Rainstorms, gut aches, creeps in vans passing too close- these are things to be borne while continuing, and maybe to be reflected upon in quieter moments with satisfaction after the fact. In the moment it is mostly head down suffer through.

When you reach a stopping place on that day of the trip and your needs are met, what wants? It all seems equally good- the exhaustion, the flat place to lay down and be without do. That stopping place you only reach through great effort.

At home, with all things available to you,there are so many distractions. Things aren't as good as they could be, or X is wrong, and Z is an's easy to be dissatisfied. Laying on the flat earth just reminds you that there are all these damn pointy rocks, and you'll never get them all moved- so maybe a tarp, and an inflatable mattress, or this hammock, and a nice pitcher of iced tea with fresh mint, but then you'll need a table, etc.

It's both the adventure, it's just that guy was good and exhausted. You've been there and you'll be there again. That short ride through the slop would only have been sharp rocks and the lack.

Juancho said...

As always, thanks Rev. My life coach and chair of my personal board of directors.