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WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

WHEN THE WRONG ONES WILL DO

WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

MAKES ME HAPPY

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

AWARENESS...

STAYING AWAKE TO THE REMARKABLE IN THE ROUTINE

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Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

fat biking

fat biking

Saturday, Steve and I packed up our bikes and went to the trails behind the Rum River library because the ‘real’ fat bike trails were already closed for the spring thaw. The Rum River trails aren’t fat bike specific and have no rules except to stay on the trail during hunting season. They are used by a combination of cross country skiers, fat bikes, and people out walking their dogs.

We didn’t arrive at the trail until 10 AM, and by that time, with the sun out and the temperature in the truck showing 43 degrees F, the trail was already a bit slushy and slippery in spots. In one area along an open corn field, the wind had created a deep wave of snow across the path that brought our bikes to a creaky forward motion and then a toppling stop. It had been so warm riding in the woods but in the open area, we were quickly zipping our jackets up high on our necks to have some shield from the sideways blow. We took the first right available to head back into the woods.

fat biking

When the path ran close to the river, we could hear and see the zip zip of snowmobilers running down the ice. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to trusting an ice covered body of water, especially a body of water with a current and spots where the ice open up, but we came to a stretch that looked solid and did a bit of river running. It was fun seeing a very familiar area from a different level.

fat biking fat biking

When we got back home, a couple packages had arrived that contained a new bicycle helmet and grips that I had ordered for our bike touring dreams. When I had a bike fitting awhile back, it was pointed out to me that the bike I planned to use, a hybrid Trek with straight handlebars, wouldn’t be as comfortable to ride as my road bike for long distances because there was really only one position to put my hands and thus my body while riding. The problem with using my road bike though is that I could only put a bracket on it that would attach to the seat post and hold about twenty-five pounds of gear. Since we are planning on camping, that wouldn’t allow me to carry enough stuff, although I could just pile everything on Steve’s bike…

No, that didn’t seem fair. So I found these cool grips that I could put on my straight handle bars to give me three positions to move my hands around on. After putting on the grips, we also put on the panniers, one side loaded with sleeping bag, pad, and rain suit and the other side only with cooking gear, and did a little riding down the street to see how the additions felt. I love the grips! It’s like having a new bike to play with.

bike grips

The helmet was purchased to have more airflow and stay cooler. Skinnier, less knobby tires, and a handlebar bag to carry my camera, and I think I’ll be ready to go. One other thing will be a fully loaded test drive up a hill to see if I need a change to my bicycle gears to ease climbing.

Anyone know how to easily make a skirt to wear as a cover up when you get off the bike and don’t feel comfortable walking around in way too revealing bike shorts? I’ve tried finding something that will work at Goodwill and other such stores — nothing. The $65 to $100 wrap and pull on type skirts I’ve found online seem a bit much. I’m sure I can figure out how to run my mom’s hundred-year-old White sewing machine (not quite that old but almost)…

I ‘m getting pretty excited about the idea of bicycling combined with camping! We’ll just be doing short rides to get some experience. The sad part is leaving the dogs behind, but who knows, if we find this is our new thing and we get strong enough, maybe we can go farther and drag the dogs in trailers (I’ve found people doing that online), but that’s a big IF.

Monday I started seeing how far it is to New York — ummm, would take me at least a month. Phoenix — even farther! Boulder?

I think I better not get carried away and see if I can make it to Wisconsin first…

bike touring

Dog

Dog

“When we are in drought, what we are missing is joy. We miss the joy of creativity… ‘Oh look’ we think dully, ‘a beautiful rose. So what?’ It is the ‘so what?” aspect that makes a drought so debilitating. It makes any attempts to cheer us up fall flat… The good, the beautiful, the joyous cannot touch our grief-hardened hearts… We are caught by the throat with sorrow over what we are missing in the world and in ourselves.” ~ Julia Cameron, “The Sound of Paper”

Ah yes, drought… I’m happy to simply be able to write down someone else’s words. Reading has been difficult too — books, blogs, email, Facebook, Twitter, newspapers, magazines — oh, so many words out there. I feel like I’m drowning in them, so perhaps subconsciously, I’ve been driven to dryness.

I survived February. But this papery-thinness is how it left me.

“‘Try just a little,’ we must offer ourselves, as though we were spooning in chicken soup.” ~ Julia Cameron

dog

I’m doing the most basic of journaling. I couldn’t manage a blog post, which is normally so easy for me. Everything I write sounds stupid, self pitying, whiny and flat. So instead you get this journal entry that sounds stupid, self pitying, whiny and flat.

“We are the unenchanted ones. Even when beauty passes by, it leaves us unmoved.” ~ Julia Cameron

How can this be? I wrote about beautiful things only a few weeks ago! I’m sure of it! If I write this now, if things change so drastically — up and down — what does that say about me? Am I so ungrounded that  a windy day tosses me around like a plastic bag racing across a Walmart parking lot?

DogPlaytime-11-1

I’m blaming all of this on neck and shoulder pain, which sounds so lame. But I can hardly stand to sit in the manner required for writing and reading. Even more irritating is that I have to withstand the same pain at work, but I can’t take any more of it when I get home. Home is for healing…

Have you ever tried holding books, computers and phones up so you don’t have to look down? Which means that arm and wrist pain joins the jamboree of the other symbol crashing hurts.

I know. There are worse things… And yet I feel like I’ve been robbed.

“We would move, we would be interested, but we cannot — just now — and our fears, whisper that we will never be quickened by beauty and passion again.” ~ Julia Cameron

dog

Cameron writes of gently coaxing ourselves into remembering our creative loves. Only it seems that I’m trying and failing because everything I write sounds like dry leaves squeezed in my closed palm.

Melodrama… thank god I never lose that talent.

Julia does say that maybe we just need to complain for awhile to a friend or write a fist-shaking letter to God about how He continually giveth and then taketh away…

dog

Perhaps I just need time to rest. If I love and miss writing so much, it will return.

Yet people I love have left and never returned. Granted, many of them died and it would be tough to return from that. And honestly, I’m not up for any ghostly encounters.

dogs

Fortunately, the weather has turned — longer days, more sun, more warmth. And I was able to get outside and play and watch my dogs play. Wednesday I’ll write more about what may have been my last snow ride and my future plans for bike touring.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing down what other people have written about these periods of time when…

“There is nothing to be done but go ahead with life moment by moment and hour by hour — put out birdseed, tidy the rooms, try to create order and peace around me even if I cannot achieve it inside me… here in my study the sunlight is that autumn white, so clear, it calls for an inward act to match it… clarify, clarify.” ~ May Sarton, “Journal of Solitude”

dogs

horse

horse

Last Saturday morning, it was too cold to horseback ride but I wanted to give Luke a chance to walk on something besides the hard packed ice and snow in the paddock. So lead line in hand, I took my horse for a stroll behind the barn and out on the paths that wind through the woods.

Although we were shielded from the wind in the shelter of the trees, the rustling branches put Luke on high alert, ears forward, then rotating like radars to take in every sound. Like me, Luke was more at ease when we were moving forward.

The few times I stopped to look at the neighboring field or tried to take a photo with my iPhone, Luke danced impatiently and looked back towards the barn where another horse was calling to us to return.

horse in the pine trees

 

The wooded area is not very big, so I wound a wiggly path and doubled back a few times to give Luke a chance to settle, which eventually he did.

I know I’ve felt very unsettled myself lately and wonder if the same technique could work for me too. Maybe I need to double back a bit. Go back to the basics. Do something easy that won’t take too long to complete. I want to take the most direct route but maybe the wiggly path is better.

Or at least more interesting than the mad dash of a straight line.

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