His boredom was like a nostalgia for the whole world. He was homesick for everywhere but here-
When I close my eyes, and dream of being back home in Omaha? Sometimes, when everything is just right, Cambridge can look a lot like Nebraska! Minus Tower Bridge and the thousand-year old churches of course …
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change-
The first step on this “journey” of mine, was simply getting to know myself once again.
Before I competed in my first Gravel Worlds, I focused on “building strength” and training for the rigors of a 150+ miles gravel ride. A little over three years ago, I was struggling post surgery to get back into my cycling groove, needless to say I felt rather unprepared and woefully out-of-place. The week leading up to the chilly predawn start just outside Lincoln, Nebraska, I tried to imagine all the possible situations and challenges I could, and would encounter, and the associated mindset(s) I needed to adapt to them. I did not realize during the moment, that in doing so, I inadvertently found myself focusing on my true inner weaknesses – on the things that I need to improve, and on the behaviors that have eluded me for so long, that I pushed aside to compete, that did not come naturally to me … Anymore. Shortly after an early August rain shower, and two punctures, I quickly realized that I can allow myself to feel confident about my ability to deal with what the road had in store for me, for my life. Albeit not the strengths the stereotypical Lycra clad/carbon fiber cyclist, a little smile here and there, and a deeply rooted sense of humor kept two wheels up and spinning along into the evening.
Quiet simply, being yourself, being authentic – Is pretty inspiring!
After we picked you up at the Omaha airport,
we clamped you into a new car seat
and listened to you yowl
beneath the streetlights of Nebraska.
Our hotel suite was plump with toys,
ready, we hoped, to soothe you into America.
But for a solid hour you watched the door,
shrieking, Umma, the Korean word for mother.
Once or twice you glanced back at us
and, in this netherworld where a door home
had slammed shut forever, your terrified eyes
paced between the past and the future.
Umma, you screamed, Umma!
But your foster mother back in Seoul never appeared.
Your new mother and I lay on the bed,
cooing your birth name,
until, at last, you collapsed into our arms.
In time, even terror must yield to sleep.
ROWSES, Rowses! Penny a bunch!” they tell you–
Slattern girls in Trafalgar, eager to sell you.
Roses, roses, red in the Kensington sun,
Holland Road, High Street, Bayswater, see you and smell you–
Roses of London town, red till the summer is done.
Roses, roses, locust and lilac, perfuming
West End, East End, wondrously budding and blooming
Out of the black earth, rubbed in a million hands,
Foot-trod, sweat-sour over and under, entombing
Highways of darkness, deep gutted with iron bands.
“Rowses, rowses! Penny a bunch!” they tell you,
Ruddy blooms of corruption, see you and smell you,
Born of stale earth, fallowed with squalor and tears–
North shire, south shire, none are like these, I tell you,
Roses of London perfumed with a thousand years.
In Manhattan, I learned a public kindness
was a triumph
over the push of money, the constrictions
of fear. If it occurred it came
from some deep
primal memory, almost entirely lost—
Here, let me help you, then you me,
otherwise we’ll die.
Which is why I love the weather
in Minnesota, every winter kindness
to obvious self-interest,
thus so many kindnesses
when you need them;
praise blizzards, praise the cold.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana-
Often, in our self-absorbed naiveté, we believe time to be infinite in nature. Oddly enough, time as we are experiencing it, right now in this wonderful moment … Is the one “thing” in our lives of which we can be absolutely certain of (I am deeply grateful for you being here with me right now). Why then, do we insist on spending our precious time consumed with how many followers we have on WordPress, or perusing the latest “Likes” on FaceTube, rather than being engaged in our lives?
The past few weeks I have been paying more attention to the virtual world, instead of the real world. Rather than being fully engaged in the fleeting moments before me, moments that, for their own nuanced reasons, are even more precious than most. A none too subtle slap upside my head brought me back in time, and this abrupt moment prompted me to begin thinking about just how much distraction we volunteer for on a daily basis, and how much it impacts what we have come to consider “meaningful” in our lives.
The end result of my introspection is a simple question I often fail to ask when I’m distracted – “What’s important in this beautiful moment?!?”
The scrambled priority of our lives keeps us from savoring each sip of our morning coffee, or enjoying conversation with a dear friend, or going for an early ride/walk/hike and enjoying the sun rising gently on the horizon.
… The view that we no longer notice.