Some people take in a movie; others plunk down in front of a TV set. What do I do? I hit the bike trails. That’s where I get to zone out on troubling things of this world and simply take in the beauty all around.
It’s a solitary pleasure in an often-too-busy world. It allows me to disengage, to focus on wonderful sights that confirm my belief that goodness prevails—even if, at times, it seems other forces threaten.
At times like those, I don’t need to confront world inhumanity to man, political machinations, diabolical forces…I just pedal along woodland trails, witnessing the peace nature inspires, and I know how fortunate I am: Many in the world can never do this in war-torn regions where mere going from store to home results in death or serious maiming.
But I’m in this special, protected zone of infinite beauty where fern fronds nod, waterfowl pair off, in search of food, and the change of seasons confirms that life follows a prescribed pattern: I’m in the latter third of mine. It’s a good time for me, for I have perspective that only comes with age.
Then, too, I’ve gone through my own personal trauma and come out the other side. My life sometimes reads like those Greek tragedies, except those were fiction; my story’s all too real. Divorced once, then burying two more husbands, by the time I was 42, gave me a serious chip on her shoulder…or should I say a ‘boulder’?
There were my own personal diagnoses, too, enough to unravel: breast cancer by 56, and MS, by 61. Finally, my current husband’s ‘death’ two years ago, only interrupted when doctors brought him back via the paddles. He suffered a horrific accident in our new retirement home in North Carolina, when a 12-year-old girl driving a truck plowed into him. He’s been coming back, ever since.
I don’t know why all those things happened but they’ve given me an inordinate sense of my own fortune. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but the little things of life don’t really get me.
And even if they do for a short while, I know how to fix myself. I don’t lose myself in drink (just felt lousy and got humongous hangovers); I don’t go shopping as therapy (only gave me bills and purchases never satisfied except for short afterglow); I don’t rant (gets me nowhere except further unglued.)
Nope…I just hop on my bike and seek the peace and solace of the woods…or shoreline…wherever the bike trails lead.
Then, I’m presented with a panoply of wonder that right-sizes everything.
Then tell me how you unwind from the frenzied pace of the world…how do you keep worries at bay?