Day 32: Esalen to Kirk Creek Campground, 14 miles
5am: I awake, in the dark. I am compelled to get up, pack up my sleeping bag and head outside. I see what has drawn me. The moon is setting over the ocean. A long band of silver light shimmers with the waves. The moon looks so close, as though I could reach up and snatch it from the sky.
Down the long path to the baths, where just a couple others are there. I stare at the moon, sitting in the hot water, watching as it sets below the horizon. Right about now, the sun begins to show, over the bluff to the east. Orange and yellow glow over the ocean. Mesmerizing, so beautiful. How many such sunrises have I missed, living in distraction?
930am: The closing session begins with a panel of all the presenters, discussion how to create “A room of your own”, a space in which to write. I would do well to adopt some of the practical suggestions, to discipline myself to write daily, to trust myself to write without constant self-editing, to disconnect from the internet, to read more.
Sy reads from his Notebook. I am touched to hear his soft-spoken words, expressing his wisdom and humility. He reached out to me on several occasions this retreat, offered condolences and perspective, connected as a mentor and friend.
Tim leads the group in a final writing exercise, and offers a mic to those who wish to share. Several read, and I am moved to as well. And then it is over. Hugs are shared, emails exchanged, promises to stay in touch. Lunch is anticlimactic, a longer drawn out goodbye.
I start to feel the empty place again, head to the baths once more. Catch more sun. I don’t have to leave until 4pm, but most everyone has left. I push my bike up the steep hill, as Mika and Sparrow are also walking up to their car. Mika says, “Its not every day you run into someone at a bar who is living his dream, on an epic bicycle journey.”
Off I ride, over the Big Sur coast once more. Legs feel leaden, but my heart is light. A short ride to the next camp, where I meet Mike and Mindy, two biking friends from Humbolt! And there are a couple from England, who started in Alaska.
It is good to be on the road again, to have time to reflect and integrate what I’ve learned. And to be alone with myself once more, remembering the connections I’ve made, and wondering at the new friends I will meet along the path.