Consecutive Days Riding: 47 Consecutive Days Blogging: 48
Today’s Mileage: 12 Total Trip Mileage: 409
As I ride the bike this morning I look out the window on a foggy scene. The forest of leafless trunks and the few green holly trees are bleached out and fade into the gray sky. It’s a reminder that we can only see and know what is in front of us for a short distance. The future is a mystery, the past history and the present is a gift! On this day of thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for. I have my health, a job that brings me joy, a loving partner, sons, students and friends, a pilgrimage journey that connects me with an ever expanding circle of fellow seekers and another day to celebrate all of these gifts!
I am riding around Naples enjoying the beach scenery. Tomorrow we head east across the sprawling development that encroaches on the Everglades.
I want to dwell briefly on the past, that part of my history inhabited by my family. Being the oldest son, and in constant conflict with my father, I left home at the first chance after High School. Initially I attended college and then travelled the world in the U.S. Navy before returning to the university. While I used to go home to visit (less frequently in recent years) I never really returned to stay. However, my family was always with me as the roots that anchored my travels and the fire that fueled my questions. The longer I’ve been away creating a life uniquely my own, the more I have realized the degree to which they remain an integral part of the fabric of my life. While I may not have voiced this importance to them as frequently as they deserve, they were, are and will continue to be loved and cherished by me, as the oldest son (Happy Thanksgiving Mom) and big brother!
I wrote the following musing years ago as I returned from a poetry workshop. As I drove through the North Carolina mountains on a fall day I thought of my mother and her comforting routines that I cherish now as memories. Among these were her annual canning of pickles and beets with the accompanying aromas and her creation of a new quilt. These images reminded me of the process we all undertake, combining our memories, actions and desire to create a unique life. I love you mom, always have and always will! I hope this brings a smile to your face!
Every fall mom would make them,
As the trees put on their dazzling display,
Before the frigid winter winds howled,
Before mornings foggy breath was here to stay.
Large slates of smooth timber perched on chairs,
Formed a square that filled the living room.
I and my siblings would duck and dodge
Running first in and then out till mom
Stretched a large square of nondescript cloth
Over the frame, nailing it down
With hammer and carpet tacks.
It formed a taunt roof for our imaginary cave.
Bottom layer of a plain color, usually earth tones
So it wouldn’t show dirt or stains.
Then a layer of thick warm padding
Organized in a mosaic pattern
It was a game for me and my siblings
To try and recognize from where they came.
“That was my shirt.”
“Oh, no that was my favorite.”
“My old blanket!”
“So that’s where that went.”
Small pieces of our discarded clothing, memories
Worn out, out grown, or just out of style.
Cut into squares and sewed together,
A checkerboard of memory and meaning,
The three layers were then joined with knotted strands of yarn.
Mom would sew for days sealing the edges
I now weave a quilt, I call it my life.
My public roles and faces form a background sheet.
My stories, mom’s face, the homes of my youth,
Memories of the plains, bit and pieces, colorful cutouts,
Of my life’s journey make up the patchwork mosaic cover.
My desires and passions form the warm tacking
Sandwiched and hidden between my stories and my public roles.
Small strands of wisdom that I’ve collected
Firmly knotted hold the three layers in place.
My mother started it,
I now carry on the task,
Adding new squares
Sewing up the edges
I will pass it on to my sons,
Perhaps they will find warmth in it
Till they complete it their own.
– – – –
I hope everyone enjoyed my words and the images of family on this day of celebration. Tomorrow the journey continues.