Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Lost...

Coming home one night last week I detoured from my regular route, taking residential streets in lieu of the river path, although I am bedecked in lights and reflectors, certain parts of the trail require a certain devoted, precise observation in order to navigate them successfully. Things immediately apparent in daylight take on a different depth in the partial illumination of a front bicycle light, lending them to appear less deadly than by the light of day. Sometimes this is surprising and one finds herself half thrown from her saddle... made worse by the blur of fatigue...

This being one of my first trips back in the night and being new to Waltham- deciding to depart from the known route was a necessary decision- it meant biking into the unknown, which sounds far more dramatic than it really is. However then Edgar Allan Poe decided to show up. Around a corner I come and there we have a cemetery. Cemeteries are all well and good, and having lost some of those I hold so dear in this life I am well acquainted with them. However, when one is already lost (although pretty sure that I am going in the right direction), it is night, the cemetery is dark and hard to cross- one cannot see to the other side, the roads within it are misleading in their vectors and here and there, full of holes. Oh Mr Poe, why do you do this to me? Actually what was going through my mind was H.P. Lovecraft (The Tomb).... “Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal...” of course as rational beings we know that there is nothing to fear there in the night but as feeling beings we know this is no place for the living once the sun has set. Always with my nose stuck in a book, “I have dwelt ever in realms apart from the visible world; spending my youth and adolescence in ancient and little-known books, and in roaming the fields and groves of the region near my ancestral home. I do not think that what I read in these books or saw in these fields and groves was exactly what other boys read and saw there...” having always been in possession of (or perhaps by?) an active imagination and it's at moments like this that I wish it did not run so fast.

But there is something wonderful about getting lost- even in this gothic night journey... When we get lost we have to face the parts of ourselves that mundane, everyday existence lets us (forces us?) to keep hidden, forgotten, and/or unexplored.... so when I entered that cemetery in the middle of the night, small flickers of light by the tombstones in my peripheral vision, heart pounding once I turned a corner that I expected to provide me a way out but instead brought me into the woods, denied the light from the periphery of the necropolis. H.P. Lovecraft whispering in my ear. It was just me and being lost.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. ~Henry David Thoreau

Remove your coping mechanisms, remove what makes you comfortable. Some people take being lost in stride, some of us have to turn down the car radio (as if that impeded our ability to see the street sign?), some of us can never ask for directions, and well some of us hear echoes of H.P. Lovecraft, some of us seek to get lost just to explore the way back...

Getting lost creates space for something new, in between what you were expecting to find and where you find yourself is a place to create the next step...part 1 end

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 204
Miles left to goal: 1,996
Days left: 93

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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License