Drizzle on the windshield. Winds buffet my van, parked overlooking the rocks at Yachats. I’m out here to escape the valley, to find myself, and to take a ride. But I don’t like cycling in the rain. Fair weather rider.
NOAA predicts a clearing, late in the afternoon. A window, a couple hours before sunset, which comes at 6pm on this late winter day. Just a month to the equinox, and spring in Oregon. I’m counting the days.
This winter has been a hard one. Lots of storms, cold, snow. Challenging inner weather too. I’m learning to find my balance, trust my self. Build my life from the ground up, again. Facing the existential questions once more.
Who am I? What am I here to do? What do I want? What do I have to give?
If you’ve been following my blog, you know many of these questions have been inspired within my a new relationship. Opening my heart again, I find every kind of weather imaginable. Emotional and intellectual. Joy, ecstasy, fear, grief, trust, doubt, love, faith. Faith? Yes, in the unknowable. This atheist, this skeptic, finding a need to draw on the universal. My common destiny, with all others. With the infinite.
I’ve also been drawing in all my resources, writing in my journal, support from friends, powerful work with my counselor, looking into groups practicing Compassionate Communication. And here, today, back to the road. To take this winter ride.
I sit it out in the coffeeshop this morning. Too much time on Facebook, I’ll freely admit. Then over to the Yachats Farmstore and Brewery, to enjoy a great pork belly sandwich and to meet with Nathan. So good to connect with him again, one of my long term friends, who’s seen my path since the early days of the restaurant. He’s also helped me in the launch my point of sale business. He shares his frustrations with the ridiculous sidewalk construction project, effectively closing his business for days. Then he’s off, back up the river to his homestead.
Lingering, now, alone in my thoughts. So good to have time like this, to ponder, to build my inner resources. I’m back at the point, Yachats State Park, overlooking the powerful surf, pounding the millions of years old rocks. Touching eternity, this place, this heart.
Late afternoon, and the rain indeed stops. NOAA is right, once more. I get on my cycling gear, get on my bike. Ride south, following my beloved highway 101, along the winding headlands. Legs are still strong, despite the long hiatus from my last ride. Pedaling along, stroke after stroke, the rhythm, the miles, my mind opens, my heart opens.
A flood of thoughts, feelings, let it out. Breathing in the coastal air, drinking in the vistas, such beauty, such power. I’m humbled again, faced with this beloved landscape, at once feeling powerful and insignificant, my strength and utter vulnerability. Exposed on my bicycle, I’m pumping up hills, flying down the descents. Exposed to wind and vehicles and pavement and the vast infinite of the world.
Over Heceta Head, through the tunnel, I stop to take in the vista only visible from this vantage. From the side of a highway. On a bicycle. Why I ride.
Now, the last few miles, and on to the clarity I’ve been seeking. Breathing hard, I’m awash with the peace and joy of this life. Headlight on now, as the sun has set, and I’m riding out of memory, following the road over Cape Perpetua, along Yachats Ocean Road. I book a stay at the Drift Inn, a new AirBnB hostel. A hot shower, divine, warming my cold toes, then dinner at the restaurant.
Chatting with the proprietor, Gretchen, who returns the keys I left accidentally months ago. How good, to feel like a “regular” here, I remember how the regulars feel at my shop. Then I retire to the comfy rest, longing for my love, ready to dream of new vistas and heights.
I recall the direction I received from a friend, one anxious night: Remember everything is ok, just as it is. This is your day. Now, 5 things you are grateful for. My response is immediate, without hesitation:
I am grateful for the sun breaking through the rain
And for the rain
And for these tears
And for my open heart
And for my friends, all of my friends
And I will add, tonight, for waiting out the weather.