Peditation

Posted: November 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

Mind set

I often forget how small and insignificant I am until I walk a deserted beach on a clear, moonless night with a billion stars above me and the ocean spilling over the horizon to my side. I am nothing more than a spec of dust hurtling through space on a slightly larger spec of dust, into a universe that goes on forever.

I’m always grateful for this feeling because my normal-self has a tendency to get all spun out about climate change and injustice and my brain goes to work on overtime trying to connect the dots.  How can people elect a gameshow host as the president of the United States and believe him instead of climate scientists?  Is air really odorless or is it just the odor that we’re used to?  And why do we have to wash our towels if we only use them to dry our clean bodies?  These things really bug me – especially the first one.

But when I’m out looking up at all those stars, all that noise goes away, and I think that’s why I like bike touring, and Cathy.

Bike touring is like Christmas every day.  You go to sleep at night in anticipation of tomorrow – tomorrow is a package that you get to unwrap slowly – first you sort of shake it – looking at the map you get a feel for its size and shape.  Then you start taking the layers off – a few miles in and the tape starts coming off, a few more and you’re tugging at the wrapping paper.  Then you pry off the lid and get to have a look inside.  Sometimes you get a lump of coal.  Sometimes you get the really cool shape-changing atomizer you’ve been dreaming about.  Bike touring takes me to the craziest places – places busses and trains don’t bother stopping at – places that will never have airports, places where people have never seen a couple of westerners pedaling a tandem bike with things strapped to all parts of it and pulling a Burley trailer.  Bike touring keeps you outside – when it rains you get wet, when it’s hot you sweat, when it’s cold you pile on layers and sometimes you freeze to death.  Climate is damned hard to ignore when you bike tour.

Off piste

Cathy is like Christmas every day too but I’m not going to get into the unwrapping bit because we’re both old and my granddaughters would go “Ewwwwwww!” if I told the story.  But Cathy takes me to uncharted beaches and even the occasional mountain top as well and if it wasn’t for her I’d have been locked up in a mental institution for the tragically sane long ago.

Cahty

We all need someone who keeps us crazy – and in lieu of that, something, and when we’re really lucky, we get both.

Galileo was another person who was taken by the stars. Roughly 420 years ago the crazy fool presented the concept that the earth revolved around the sun, not, that the sun and the rest of the universe revolved around the earth as the catholic church proclaimed.  Despite some pretty convincing evidence to support this theory, the church denounced him, put him under house arrest where he remained until his death, and banned the publication of all of his past and future works.  Not unlike the gameshow host’s demand to remove all mention of climate change from all government websites within his first month in office.  Over 400 years and we homo sapiens really haven’t changed much.  Evolution is a slow process.  Galileo had a Cathy in his life too.

Time

Bike touring gives a person a lot of time to think – to ponder some of life’s questions, like “What is Martinizing and why do people wear clothes that require such a thing?” and “If I am just a spec of dust on a larger spec of dust in a very dusty universe, why does it still matter so much to me that so many of my peers are unable (or unwilling) to perceive the fact that they are in fact financing the denial of climate change?  That even if 99% of the climate scientists currently alive are incorrect, and that climate change is in fact some extremely well manipulated hoax (getting the ice caps to melt must be the most difficult part) what’s wrong with weaning ourselves from fossil fuels and shifting to renewable energy?  What’s wrong with carbon offsetting?” and of course my favorite, “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”

Best friends

Tonight we’re on Issara Beach in Sichon, Thailand. The ocean stretches to a horizon that only a few hundred years ago was believed to be the edge of the earth.  I guess we all make mistakes sometimes.

A storm is blowing in. Lightning cracks the sky as crashing waves compete with the thunder.  I’m taken back to when the tsunami that hit the other side of this peninsula 15 years ago and washed away 230,000 lives and thousands more livelihoods; to the cyclone in Myanmar that killed 140,000 in one day.  Nature is a force to be reckoned with, as humans we and everything we do is so impermanent.  I need to remember that.  I need to be that.

As the wind howls, a few stars manage to punch holes in the clouds – and I am dust again.

starship troopers

Editors note:  Follow this URL ( https://harpers.org/archive/2015/04/rotten-ice/ ) for the article that helped inspire the above – but I will warn you – don’t read it if you don’t want to get pissed off and do something about climate change – and no, it’s not too late.

Comments
  1. Sharon MacConnach says:

    Love your ramblings. Makes my heart happy that you know what a treasure you have in Cathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom Murphy says:

    Excellent story telling – inspires us on our rides as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maureen Russell says:

    Such a treat to read….are you working on the book?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny but now that I’m 65ish, it seems that I’m far less employable than I was a few years ago – so yes, both Cathy and I are working on writing more because it at least gives us some focus, but whether that work will ever manifest itself into a full book is definitely questionable 😉

      Like

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