Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Once again around the sun

More or less every year I slap the same Walt Whitman prose on here.  It talks about questioning yourself and whats around you, of letting yourself go to explore, to learn, to live.  It talks about, without saying it, that if you LIVE your life, you will be an example and a poem upon others who see you.  Other things it doesn't say is that there are moments, times, days, weeks, months, or years where things aren't that great.  Your life may have taken a turn you didn't intend, or you have allowed yourself to follow a darker path.

One year ago I was slogging my way across Texas on my bicycle.  At that time, the weather wasn't nice, the slog had been going on for 3 weeks, and I was newly again a solo bike tourer.  At that time, while if I sat and tried, I could have said, "Boy, things aren't very good right now".  But I didn't.  One, because they weren't, and two, because the good/bad lives inside our minds and hearts, and there was no way that while bike touring across the land, or any land, my mind or heart would say that things weren't good.  Again, moments are tough, but those moments pass to let in the light.

I now again find myself in a situation and place where I can (and am) telling myself that things aren't good.  Like a mouse, I made grand plans, and we all know that the plans of mice and men are set to fail.  Being on bike tour, having no plans was the best  but it seems I havent been able to apply that to the non-bike touring life.  Two weeks into my bike tour I thought about giving up and heading back to Burlington.  I though I was undertaking something way too much for me, the weather was bad, and I was sleeping on concrete in the middle of depressing Michigan. I kept going and never looked back.  It's during our lowest, darkest, hardest moments that we see within ourselves of what we are capable of doing, of how we are the sole guide that can lead ourselves out of the caves of despair we sometimes lead ourselves into.

I'm not on bike tour, I'm not thru hiking a major trail.  I'm in a place I dont necessarily want to be, working a job I dont necessarily want to work at, living a life I now no longer want to be leading.  It's all to easy to give up and wallow in the mud.  Odds are at least for a small time I will.  But its the ability to pick yourself up, to wash off the dirt, and get back on track that matters.  So while I start this new year not where I want to be, I'll be working on making sure that a year from now, I will be.

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

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