Home beaches

Day 9, South Beach to Yachats, 29 miles

Restless sleep. I’m not used to sleeping out, with no protection. Even the thin fabric of a tent creates the illusion of safety, privacy, a cocoon. I wake several times, looking up at the clear night sky, catch a few shooting stars. A rare thing at the coast. I drift back to slumberland.

Nightmares jar me awake. Tears in my eyes, feeling shame and loss, the story in the dream, symbolic and poignant. I’ll need to look at this with my counselor, later today. I rouse myself, pack up my sleeping bag, damp from the morning dew, and set out. An early ride, quite chilly at first, following the 101 south along my home beaches.

Home beaches. The playgrounds of my childhood. Later, respite for my soul. Places to play, dance, make love, grieve, ponder the mysteries of my existence. How many times have I visited these, my hallowed grounds, my most cherished landscapes? More than any other place, I consider this stretch of coastline to be my home. Here I’ve lived out the life of my heart, struggled with conflicts, nursed my addictions and wounds, cleansed my mind and soul.

How fitting to be riding this coastline today, as I release myself from the burdens of this past year. Burdens birthed in my mind, in my heart, played out in my life. I’m again embracing that I am indeed the author of my life. I’ve created this story, made this bed in which I must lay. And if anything I don’t like is going to change, only one person can do anything about it. That would be me. If I want to find inspiration, hope, purpose, again, the only place to go is within.

Several short hills greet me as I pedal out of South Beach, fun coasting down each, using momentum to climb part of the next. On past Lost Creek, then Ona Beach, on to Seal Rock. Squiddie is riding out front, enjoying the view. The blue skies are exhilarating, temperatures rising. Further, I’m crossing the Alsea Bay Bridge. Just three more miles to Beachside State Park. I swing into the park and set up my tent in the Hiker/Biker site. I meet a traveler there, who says he’s been on the road since 2012, riding down to South America and back up again. He tells me of traumas of his ride, stolen bikes, being assaulted in Ventura, California. I wish him well, and head down to Yachats.

Coffee at the Green Salmon, long morning and afternoon blogging, daydreaming. Then I have my phone counseling session with Lara. I haven’t talked with her for over a week. Much to review, much to reflect upon. I tell her of the nightmares this morning. She invites me to seize on the opportunity: see that the characters in my dreams, as according to Jung, are all aspects of myself. The conflicts, dramas, emotional potency, all stories playing out inside my psyche.

Memories of the past, forced into myth and story, my unconscious telling me something, about pain, about shame, about disempowerment. Can I pay attention? Learn from these gifts of insight, from the depths of the shadow? Or will I continue to act as though shadow doesn’t exist, projecting my fears and anger and numbness onto the world, onto the characters in my life?

The session ends too quickly. So much more there. We’ll be back in touch, later down the road. So much food for thought. So many more miles ahead to ponder, to explore the recesses of my mind, the seasons of my heart. Grateful for this opportunity, for all the beloved friends and companions I travel with along this journey.

I head over to Yachats Brewery to see Nathan, get some dinner. Wow, I remember when I rolled through town on one of my first tours, six years ago? He was just beginning construction. The place it packed, busy for this late season afternoon. I grab a harvest salad and an elderberry kefir soda, a refreshing probiotic drink, with a beautiful pink hue.  Nathan shows up and we share stories and a hug. He always greets me with a laugh. Even with the frustrations of his multiple businesses, he makes time to meet me. I’m blessed to have friends like these.

Sun has set, twilight is nearing. I ride the straightaway back north to my camp. I meet another solo cyclist there, who is traveling south. We’ll surely see each other, down the road. As I will meet again the players on the stage of my life, in the real or the dream worlds. I embrace the possibilities, the achievements, the losses, the dreams, the deep consideration of purpose and destiny. On I ride, into the shadow, into the light.


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