Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Death And Time Left...YIKES!!!

It started when I was preparing for my solo, cross country bicycle ride in 2010.  Gear that I was pulling out of the shed still looked good, but some things definitely needed to be replaced with upgraded or possibly newer models of what I had purchased 20 years ago.  As I researched replacements, it dawned on me that I wouldn't have to buy some of this stuff ever again in my lifetime.  I'd be dead before most would need to be replaced.  Now, that got my attention.  I hadn't thought like that before.  It got me to thinking about this last phase of my life.  Which is the period that I'm presently in.  Waitin' in the first row of the bus depot.  It's where all those in my family who have died used to sit.  Now, I'm sittin' in the first row.  Sometimes, it still feels warm.

Morbid?  Not really.  It actually helps me make decisions or choices faster, with more clarity.  My response these days when asked, "How'ya doing?", is..."Any day above ground is a good day."  What used to be this philosophical possibility is not so philosophical any longer.  It's concrete.  I suppose the first time I realized my immediate family wasn't invincible was when my Mom died.  Knocked me down.  Truly.  Now, I really loved my Mom and my Dad.  So, it was an eye opener.  Not grim, but very real.

With fingers crossed and working at staying healthy, I have high hopes of living a bunch longer (I want to beat the French guy's 100km record on a bicycle when I turn 100 yrs old), but I know time is short in comparison to the years it's taken to get to this point.  The speed with which time flies these days is incredible.  Lightning fast.  And how fast my life has sped by is, in retrospect, unbelievable.  Another little gem I began thinking about quite a while ago: despite what I've experienced or now know, it's impossible to impart that "awareness" or knowledge to someone else so they can avoid similar pitfalls.  Particularly someone younger, but anyone really.  Not that they have to listen to what I've experienced and learn from that...life doesn't happen that way.  But to try and get them to pay attention to just how rapidly time...and life...flies by.  Unfortunately, that awareness only comes with time.  Time spent.  Past tense.

Back in the 1970's, I read some writings by Hugh Prather (one of those people that would have been described as "woo woo") that included this: "...The impossibility of it all: the certain deterioration and death, the ponderous broom of history sweeping away all traces of your individual lives, motivates you more than the hope of ten thousand golden statues or trumpets or coins.  It is because it will eventually mean nothing that you must do it."  Hmm, while I never remembered the exact words he wrote, I never forgot this and it's motivated me many, many times in my life.   Still does.  It probably says in fewer words what I'm getting at here.

No, I'm not in a funk.  I actually feel great, physically and mentally, and am very happy with life as I know it right now.  Especially having Eileen in my life.  Having her near is the best part.  We, she, and I, have some goals that we're looking at and planning for, so I'm not about to lay down and die.  Trip to Ireland.  Fiddle teaching and workshops for Eileen.  Maybe starting a music school after she retires? A 10,000 mile tour coming up for me in a few years.  Shorter ones next year.  And the year after that.  And, most importantly and immediately, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  My two very favorite holidays of the whole year.  Particularly Christmas.  So, should you find yourself in the first row at the bus depot, don't stop doing things just because of that.  Life is quite a good thing.  I'm enjoying it to the best of my abilities!  Slainte!

Ok, a tune to finish up this post with..."Midnight Walker" by Davy Spillane.  I played this at my Mom's funeral.  Eileen and I played it at our wedding.  It brings to mind so many fond memories.  So, it's a joyous and a sad tune for me.  Sort of like life.  Hoka Hey.