Losses and gains, joys and pains

Day 4, Boston Harbor to Artic Park, 62 miles

Waking from a restful sleep, I’m greeted to breakfast with Denni and Jenny. More ferments, coffee, perfect eggs. Laughter and conversation at the table, as well as pondering how to be in the world, given the political climate, the actual climate, and the inner challenges of the mind and heart. I feel comfortable sharing my struggles, feelings, loss, dreams. My mission for this trip. For this life.

Peacemaking. Do no harm. Be an agent of love and compassion. Even when confronted with the opposite. See the mirror, the reflection of my shadow, take responsibility for how I project it outward, then react against what seems to be the transgressions of the “other”. When I’m really reacting against those parts of myself I have rejected, and in conflict with, and at times am wholly unconscious of. So certain I’ve been mistreated, abused, betrayed. When I’ve mistreated, abused, betrayed my own self. How would my life be, if I practiced this awareness, every day? Of course I’ll be given new opportunities to put it to task, soon. Just down the road.

I bid my dear hosts farewell, looking forward to the next time we meet. Maybe I’ll stay a bit longer. An easy rolling ride down to Olympia. My butt is feeling a bit sore. I didn’t train for this trip, not nearly enough hours in the saddle to prepare the internal callous, that toughness around the sitz bones. Ouch. Going to be a tough few days until I’m not in pain. Training on the go, as Sarah describes it. I roll past the bay, then stop to take a picture of an iconic mural at Childhood’s End Gallery. The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Hokusai.

Picture caught, I’m standing of the corner, wondering where to get coffee. I ask a woman who is walking by, she shrugs then mutters something I can’t hear. I settle in, searching on my phone. What’s next? Texting with friends, checking the social media. Taking my time, when I probably should get on the bike and ride the rest of the 50 miles. I look up, the woman who I asked about coffee is walking back across the street.

Under her breath, she mutters, “Did you get your Kodak moment?” Then she says, “Satan worshipper.” I’m perplexed. Then realize, she’s got something going on. Wonder what happened in her life. How did I appear a threat to her, so that she’d see me so.

And the mirror! What part of myself do I judge, as being narcissistic? Or unlovable? Or evil?  I feel compassion, wish the world treated her better, treated me better. Wish I treated myself better. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

I ride on, climb a big hill past the bay, then over to REI to find another pair of bicycle gloves. The Bellwethers I bought yesterday are so tight they are making my fingers tingle. I spend a bit too much time, and too much money, feeling at home in this supermarket of adventure. The irony of how much gear we feel we need to buy to get away from it all. That the gear in fact becomes an impediment to the exposure which is part of the experience, the thrill of the outdoors. Too much insulation. Too much padding. Let me be naked, raw in the face of the wild.

But I need my spandex. Padding for my increasingly sore tush. Distracted, I must be as I head out, because I’m three miles down to road before I realize I haven’t strapped on the second pair of bike shorts, drying on my back panniers. Gone. I feel my frustration rise, turn around, ride back retracing the last three miles, searching. All the may back to REI. Nope, don’t see them anywhere. There’s $100 pair of Specialized shorts, gone. Ah, remember, breathe. Let go. Of my shorts? Yes, even these. First world problem. I hope someone picked them up who needed them more than I.

I turn back to the ride, still 50 miles to go, now a few more added. Now, I have time for the wood fired pizza truck I’ve passed twice already. I relax, enjoy a margarita with Canadian bacon. And a cinnamon roll, made daily by mom. Yes, there’s a skull in that fire. I ask one of the cooks if that is a former employee. She laughs lustily, “That’s our boss!” I laugh and shudder. Better be nicer to my cooks back home.

I’m back on the road, miles are feeling long and painful. The inner bruises are growing, now I’m standing up a lot to get off my ass. Will make my legs stronger, that’s the upside. But my mind is distracted too. Slipping back into obsession, resentment, fear, anger. Linked with the physical pain. I’m not enjoying the ride. I put on some angry feminist music. Doesn’t help. Then Cloud Cult, Light Chasers album. Concept album about an epic journey to explore the universe, to find the self. Ah, this brings me closer.

The last miles, past Preachers Slough, then climb the last hill up to the 101. The park is near, my camp, my bed, but first shower and laundry. I am greeted by the host, who reminds me they love bicyclists. The rate is much lower than Washington State Parks, by the way. I set up my tent, first time this trip, lay out my mattress and sleeping bag. I crawl into the nest, feel the comfort, listen to the throbbing music from the Artic Tavern just a few hundred yards away.

Losses and gains, joys and pains. A perfect day of touring, what more could I ask?

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