Yesterday was a day I had been looking forward to for a very long time. It was a bike race day, the participants were attempting 130 miles of hilly gravel and dirt roads yesterday. I was not a participant, but I had decided to volunteer, as two very dear friends of mine organize this race and I know just how much work they put into it.
The participants have to check in at different checkpoints along the route. This helps us keep track of everyone, gives us an idea of how long it’s going to take everyone to get through the course, and makes sure that we have everyone accounted for. These types of races are self supported. Meaning, there’s no food or water provided along the route by the organizers, and the participants are not allowed to have friends or family drive in along the route to bring them food or water. The participants can carry whatever they can with them, and they can stop at convenience stores along the way, but they are disqualified if they have organized outside help. So, it’s quite necessary for the organizers and volunteers to be as aware as possible of how participants are doing.
I drove an hour and a half away from home, into the middle of nowhere, basically a valley at the intersection of two very hilly dirt roads, on an indian reservation for the checkpoint I was scheduled to run. There was absolutely NOTHING out there. Except for us. Our checkpoint was at about 60 miles into the ride, and I was there from 10-2. I didn’t take pictures of riders, as I was busy checking them in and getting reports from them. Who had a flat tire, who missed a turn, who looking like they weren’t doing too well, and who may have dropped out. I was lucky to always have someone with me, and while waiting for the leaders to come through I had quite a few people with me. Including the race organizers, and I snapped a shot of their easy and comfortable friendship as they waited for the first bikes to crest the hill on the route.
These two guys are two of my best guy friends ever. They are amazing people, and I am so fortunate to know them both. I am telling you, nothing could have been more zen for me yesterday than sitting at an intersection in the middle of nowhere soaking in nature, sunshine, and friendship. It. Was. Good.
It’s been such an utterly odd week, to be honest. Between Mike’s passing, and the additional people at the house, and the gatherings of friends in the evenings, and we also found out that another one of my guy friends was in the hospital with quite a serious blood clot attempting to damage his digestive system. (He’s now out of ICU, and on his way to recovery, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of worry during those few days!)
With all that, and with another good friend having had a double mastectomy and reconstruction last week, I think I’ve come to realize that we are all kind of heading into a new phase in life. We are getting older, it’s unavoidable and we are also being forced to stare it in the face. In my brain this year I keep saying “I am grateful our home has been a gathering place for friends and family during tough times, but could it maybe be a gathering place during some good times? Please?” And then I remind myself to be so grateful for the opportunity to provide that for people, and to be in a position where we are able to do so. And that the home is being used for what we wanted it to be used for. And life is truly about cycles, the celebrations and the gatherings of joy WILL come. This has just plain been our season for some tougher stuff.
And now on to lighter subjects. I have two more skeins of handspun hanging to dry. It’s unlikely to dry ANYTIME soon, because it’s so humid here right now, but by tomorrow I am sure! I’ve also got a finished Nahant scarf to block, so that should be featured this week sometime. But while we wait on those two things, I started a new spinning project and it’s basically just thrilling in it’s rich color!