Day 23, New Brighton Beach to Monterey Veterans Memorial Park, 46 miles
The waves have lulled me all night. Then why this dream? I’m reaching for the handle of a doorway, feeling great reluctance to open it. I overcome my fear, then swing the door wide. Behind it, darkness, infinite depth, endless night. I feel a horror deep in my belly as I wake, shaking, tears. How to interpret… Death? Change? Mystery? All that is not known, the shadow? I shake it off, look at the clock, 12:30am, then fall back to sleep. The rest of my night is more restful.
I wake, break down camp, then head a couple miles back over to the Ugly Mug. I’m locking my bike out front when Steve pops out the door. “Am I going to get no work done today?” He’s a good friend, even though I see him but once a year (or twice if I throw in a winter or spring tour). A bicycle buff, pump and free tubes at the shop. And the best coffee, of course. I stay a long while, visiting, writing on my blog, and yes, procrastinating.
I’ve been doing procrastinating a lot on my tour this fall. Delaying my ride. David Whyte writes in Consolations that procrastinating shouldn’t be judged or dismissed as laziness, but rather as a phase, a necessary waiting, for something to ripen, to come to fruition. What something am I incubating? I’m not to know, until the time is right, until the ripening occurs.
So I simply get on the bike, pedal on, slog through this mood. It doesn’t help that I’ve found this particular ride uninspiring, following the route through farmland around Monterey Bay, and the destination even less inspiring, the Veterans Memorial Park at the top of the hill in Monterey. Often frequented by homeless folks, and I usually am arriving after dark, which adds to the excitement.
The miles are easy, a grace for my reluctant legs. Slight headwind isn’t a problem, though quite chilly still. I push on, past endless strawberry fields (forever) and brassicas too. I arrive at Moss Landing, decide to stop at the overpriced fish restaurant, then go out on the beach. Fried halibut, and the beach, cold breeze. Oregonian tries laying in the sun awhile. Finally, back on the bike, miles along Monte Drive are quick, rolling over dunes. I know the route, which helps me get even further lost in my thoughts.
My destination, before camp, the East Village Coffee Lounge. I decide to stay for the horrid open mic, and the first performer does not disappoint, a vulgar profanity laced bit which no one laughs at. But the second and third performers are quite talented, guitar and poetry. Ah, that is the way open mics go, kind of like a church potluck. Sometimes you get some good food, sometimes food poisoning. A little of each tonight.
Already 815pm so I decide it’s time to ascend the hill to camp. The road is steep, somehow not a difficult a climb as I remember. Headlight blazing, I climb slowly and surely. Ah, the crest by the camp, I pedal up, set up my tent, then head to the shower. I note the hot water to the shower is going to end at 9pm. Just 3 minutes from now! I struggle to throw off my clothes and get just a minute of hot water, enough for a rinse. At least I got the sweat off.
Back to my tent, tucked into my warm sleeping bag. In the distance, the military academy plays taps, then only the sound of the distant surf and barking sea lions. I drift off thinking, may my dreams continue, bringing me whatever fears or delights my soul wishes me to encounter.