There are times when I forget my edge, that I’m jagged energy and full of friction. There are times I forget that my being drop kicks its way through time. There’s no downward dog here. I am stillness and pensive, but not passive. This is who I am, not a bad thing.

At the top of the trail named Randy Savage my jersey was soaked and I was tired. It was Friday afternoon and I had just returned from a visit home following my father’s heart attack. Saying goodbye to my parents when they dropped me off at the airport was quick. I convinced them not to pay for parking, but to just trundle me out the door with quick, practical hugs and short bursts of tears.  I returned home for a day and it was TJ’s turn to go back, learning just then that her grandmother that she adored was in the hospital and wouldn’t be coming out. Quick flights for the both of us.

I was riding distracted, thinking too much and tired. My tires dragged through the loose loam in the forest so that even when the climb leveled out the pedaling was work. I like this kind of thing, and although this season I am weaker than in those past I still love to feel my thighs burning and my lungs desperate for air. I couldn’t see the staggered shadows of the forest, couldn’t see the darkened cliff faces or the spindled lodge pole pines, just the trail in front of me cutting through the vegetation. Alone in the mountains.

When I crashed it wasn’t on technical terrain. I had just crawled down the first steep and convinced myself that I was babying the ride. I opened my brakes and picked up speed when my front tire augured into the loam. I don’t know how I landed, but I do know that I covered some good distance in the air. This one was going to hurt so I turned around and made it home as fast as I could to lick my wounds.

There are times when what’s around us is a compliment. All of us live in the context of something and that’s how our lives are defined. We have work, relationships, things that we like to do. We are layered onto the world around us not as something separate, but simply as jetsam floating on the surface. And that’s how we function.

But there are other times when the context we’re in isn’t something we float upon, it becomes something we’re engulfed and distracted by. Circumstance, facts, events. All of these things pile up and bury us, and it’s our effort alone that can help us swim to the top, that can help us refine the context, massage it again into something comfortable.


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