Saturday, August 07, 2004

Pedalling into the wind.

Yesterday we went for a 50k bike ride and at times we were pedalling into gale force winds. What a slog those parts of the trip were. The wind was coming off the lake, so every time we took a turn and headed in that direction we were almost blown over. When that happened, we had to put the bikes into low gear and just keep our legs moving. Slowly but surely, keep those old legs moving, up down, up down. Before long we were at the next turn and got some relief from the stormy blast.

In spite of fighting against the wind all day, we had a fabulous ride. The air was cool, the sunshine warm, and the sky a crisp bright blue overhead. Absolutely beautiful! One section of the trail took us down tree-lined paths along to the wetlands, where we stopped to take pictures of the ducks and swans out on the water. This is a quiet spot, tucked away and protected from the winds off the lake. We enjoyed our, time out, from the wind there and were able to relax our muscles a bit as we pedalled along.

I have vivid memories of driving out to this park the day before I was due to get the results of my biopsy last fall. I needed to drink in the peace and calm of the place and let it wash over the turmoil in my heart. At that time the trees were in their full glorious autumn dresses, and the geese and ducks flocked around them like jewels adorning party outfits. It was a wonderful picture of nature calmly facing the changing of the seasons and preparing for the harsh winter ahead.

Questions were racing around in my head as I watched them that day. What did I have to prepare for? What kind of a winter would I be facing? Would surgery, chemo and radiation be on the agenda? I needed something to help me deal with the fear of what I might hear the next day. The peace and calm of that place did minister to my soul, and helped me quiet the inner storm. Mother Nature does have gifts to give us if we will only open our eyes and look for them. All these memories come back to me each time I go to that park now and I am so thankful for each day I am given to enjoy the great outdoors.

Ok, back to our trip yesterday. After we left the wetlands, we pedalled another 10k’s over to the lake, and had a picnic lunch on the beach there. It tasted like a feast fit for a king after our long ride. Sooooo good - peanut butter and honey on a pita, sweet crisp apples munched along with chunks of cheddar cheese, and then we finished off with a handful or two of trail mix loaded with nuts and raisins. MMMMMM delicious. It was so windy by the water we had to put on our squall jackets, but they did the trick of blocking the wind perfectly and we were quite comfortable while we munched and crunched our lunch.

After lunch, we set off for the trip back home. We had to fight the cross winds for a lot of that journey too, but they weren’t as fierce as the winds we faced when we were pedalling out towards the lake. I am glad we didn’t give up and turn around to go back home when we discovered how strong the winds were yesterday. The waves rolling and crashing on the lake were magnificent and the picnic lunch was such a treat at the end of that hard ride. Worth every hard pedal into the wind and more.

As I pedalled along, I thought about life and how it seems like such a slog some days when we are faced with gale force winds of adversity. It is hard to keep pedalling and not give up. It would be so much easier to stop, turn around and not push forward. Oh how much we miss when we do that though. Sometimes we have to stop and rest to regain our strength, and catch our breath, but then we have to get back up on our feet and keep pushing forward. Stopping and resting is not bad, it is the staying stopped or turning around and going back that robs us of the joy waiting for us at the end of the tough journey. The key is to know when to be kind and gentle with yourself and take the break you need, and when to be tough and make yourself keep pushing that pedal.

I wish you both wisdom and strength for your journey today.

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