Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cycling, Chaos, and Success

I rounded up the family for a rare bike ride on a spectacular Spring day. Not without protestations, mind you! It's not easy coordinating the interests of a 15-year old girl with a younger brother, an overworked professor, and underwhelmed homemaker.

Where to go? We didn't know - I figured it best to just get moving. Meandering through our historic neighborhood, one wild wipeout and bloody shin later, we made it onto a sidewalk alongside the busiest road in town. Blithely in the lead I veered to the right, onto a promising looking dirt road. Hearing a rise of complaints behind me which I chose to ignore, I plowed ahead. The dirt road led to some muddy potholes, then into a farmer's cornfield.

Along the edge of the field there appeared to be a narrow trail, maybe for the farmer to walk on. Rocks, deer gnawed corn cobs, branches, and what appeared to be poison ivy cluttered the trail. "Just more of an adventure!" I thought, promptly crashing down on a pile of natural debris, a nearby bush scraping my face. Soon we were all walking our bikes, the terrain far too difficult to navigate.

Around the corner, high rise office buildings came into view. "Ugh, not at all what I want to see," I said. We rode on, miserably looking down at what became a macadam road, surrounded by civilization. One twisted ankle, a bloody leg, scarcely any water, and muffled tears later a segment of our group threatened to turn back. "No, we're not giving up!" I commanded, angrily cycling on.

Another dirt path came into view and my husband took the lead. This time, the trail was even and gradually approached a forest. Oddly, the path continued long into the woods and was even somewhat manicured. A silence fell on us as we cycled amongst large oaks and maples, wild jasmine, flox, and fiddle-head fern with the sounds of scurrying bunnies, squirrels, and a distant woodpecker serenading us - all the way home.

It occurred to me how much like life our trip was: not always being sure where you're going - but, setting forth, bravely meeting uncertainty, discomfort, and even danger along the way. And while moving forward, we may catch glimpses of order, beauty, and unusual peace. Once home - a bit weary, perhaps even shaken - we're find ourselves richer and, if lucky, wiser for having made the journey.


  1. I love it! So true! Just think how much we'd miss if we always gave up when things got difficult or uncomfortable! I want to know where that path was...the idyllic one, that is!!!

  2. I would like to point out that there was a legit reason I was crying (i.e. I ran into a car and sprained my ankle). I rather like the last paragraph. When you put it that way, the pain seems (sorta) worth it! ;)

  3. I am thrilled to see you have a blog! You are an amazingly talented writer and I can't wait to read what you have in store. It is remarkable that such simple life stories can have so much meaning. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh one more thing...isn't it interesting how the trail got nice as soon as Shawn took the lead? ;O) (just teasin ya!)

  5. Your posting was an absolutely great metaphor for life! I am this way, too -- take the offbeat path. You never know what you will find!