HillsPosted: May 29, 2012
Pedaling down St. Mary’s, reminded me of countless times when Jerri and I rode our bikes on Lancelot Drive as kids. Back then I could pedal standing up. I was all bone and muscle—my, how things change. I could also ride with no hands and even climb up and “surf” on the banana seat of my Sears’ special while coasting downhill to the clickity-clack of the straws I’d added to the spokes of my wheels. I can still remember the wind in the streamers attached to the green plastic grips on my handlebars, my skinny tan legs covered in fine, white-blonde hair, pedaling faster and faster, the look on Jerri’s face as she squinted back at me over her shoulder to see if I was gaining.
Today, I turned right on Terry Road because it’s my namesake, geared down as far as I could, and coached myself up the first hill. It made me think of how hard life is at times and how what we tell ourselves matters. When I told myself, “This hill’s not so steep and the rise isn’t so long that you can’t make it,” I did make it. But on the hills where I thought, “it’s too steep and it climbs forever,” I’d end up walking my bike to the top. Even then I’d tell myself, “There’s no shame in walking. You’re still getting exercise. You’re still burning calories. You’re still moving forward.”
I’m really having to coax myself up the hill that is Jerri right now. I’m really tired and I just don’t have the energy to pedal. At times like this, I have to stop the inner dialogue because the the story I tell myself isn’t helpful. The story is, “This will never change. There is no recovery for Jerri. She has given up. All she wants is to numb the pain in any way that she can. She is not equipped to live life. She doesn’t have the will to choose a different way.”
As I crested hills and coasted down the backside, I wondered why life couldn’t be more like that. Coasting. Easy. Wind in my hair. My only worry? Going too fast. And maybe getting bugs in my teeth.
It seems I am always straining against gravity. Where are all my downhills?
Still, I am moving forward. The going is slow, but I am making progress. Even when I have to stop for a breather and a swig of water. I am getting closer and closer to home. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
[Photo attribution: Porro, http://foter.com/photo/v-i-i-r-u-i-s-a/%5D