August 3, 2012

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yesterday me and my bike set out in the early morning cold -- I could see my breath! -- and went on a bike adventure to salem. the cloudy weather they had predicted never materialized, which I was grateful for; those first 8 or 10 miles before the sun came up were cold, particularly without the benefit of bike gloves. but the sun came up and the temperature was perfect, and everything I needed was stuffed into the pockets of my jersey. I opted for the scenic route, ten miles longer than the more direct way, cutting west for awhile to travel along the willamette valley scenic bikeway: back roads littered with orchards and vineyards and two tractors tilling the earth, dirt clouds I rode through happily, glad to be able to smell the land. 66 miles from portland to salem, where I was greeted with beers and ice cream and a couple of happy dogs.

this is the last week of my summer. this week I've processed chickens at my friends' farm, I've skipped stones on the willamette, I've eaten candy, I've ridden my bike, I've cleaned stalls at the barn. I've read my book. I've hung out with my favorite person (twice). I've woken before dawn (twice). it's easy to spin everything as lovely, but in truth I've also been restive and bored and lonely, itchy and yearning in ways that I find difficult to articulate, even to myself. they are feelings that I suspect I should probably sit with, listen to, but I find myself avoiding them instead. one recent morning I lay in bed thinking, I wish I could travel more, I wish I could just up and go away for the weekend, I wish I led that kind of life, and then I got mad at myself, because if there's anything I've learned in the last year, it's that you're never stuck. you're only as stuck as you think you are.

although I let it pass without mentioning it to anyone, a year ago yesterday this happened. it took me months to pick up the pieces. I wasn't sure I wanted to acknowledge it at all, because JESUS, I've talked about it enough. I don't want to give the mistaken impression that I have any lingering regrets or pain or sadness. I don't. that ship sailed long ago, and good riddance. but this morning, I was standing in the sun-soaked barn, cleaning a stall, thinking of my one-year-ago self, and feeling a great deal of compassion for her. she thought she was stuck; she thought nothing would ever get better.

she came such a long way to get here. here, there might be transient boredom and worry, but there is also so much sunshine, adventure, playfulness, humor, resilience, courage, gratitude, love.

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