Finally I have thrown in the towel on taking another fall tour this year. What a relief!
The suspense was killing me. And resentment, against my own poor planning – or better wisdom – to postpone another bicycle tour until after the cold months. When then? How about March 2015? Cycling south into the California spring!
To be fair, the beginning of this decision was the Sun Magazine putting their annual fall writers retreat on hiatus. With no Esalen workshop, I wondered, why ride south? Then my spring and summer training were sporadic at best. Several rides, longer, a century, but not the steady, daily distance training needed to prep for a tour. I tried this last summer, working to prep the homestead for rental the whole month of September, then heading out on a 2000 mile bicycle tour. The result was an excruciating case of sore legs and saddle through most of the trip.
At a deeper level, introspection called me to reexamine my goals, my current status of livelihood, my management of finances and business, my social connections. I began to question whether my recent bicycle adventures were leading me to insight and strength, or rather serving escapist tendencies, delaying the discipline and rigor of managing life at home.
It seemed each year, the situation I returned to was in worse condition than the one I left. A challenging sales year at the restaurant confirmed my need to dig in, work longer hours. Then Seth called me out: we need to improve the grounds, the look, curb appeal, improve the brand FireWorks. Several weeks later, the results are stunning: newly white washed adobe garden walls, watertight polycarbonate roof over the courtyard dining area, and soon to be revealed, further improvements on signage, dining room ambiance and menu.
On top of the restaurant improvements, I also simultaneously painted the rental home (with the help of tenants), installed back steps and gravel pad where we’d removed the rotten decks last summer, installed the long overdue curtain drain above the Kiva, and seeded the vast excavation with crimson clover just before the first rains of fall came on in earnest. Whew. And then, launched with Seth a new business, providing merchant processing and point of sale services, with the emphasis on helping struggling mom and pop shops.
And the rains came. Continue to come. Tonight I light the first fire in the Kiva rocket stove, feeling heat rising from my feet as the floor warms from the blazing wood fire. I notice a warmth in my belly, rising up my spine. I’m readying myself for the winter, internally. Hunkering down, realizing I have again an opportunity to pursue my passion. To write. To connect. To imagine and dream. To rekindle the flame of life in my heart. The flame of heart in my life.
It seems many things are falling into place, as the fall has come upon me. As rains wash over the landscape, here on the flanks of Mary’s Peak. The summer trickle of the spring becomes a gushing creek, the pond again fills, the wind blows through the treetops in a thrashing song of strength and change. Warm surrounding walls and floor of clay hold me like the womb of the great mother. Here is home. In this place, in my heart. I am ready for the winter.