Thursday, July 02, 2009

Where In North America is Uncle Rod? Day 19

July 2, 2009

0 miles (4,590)

Still raining. After a leisurely, lazy morning, Jodi took me sightseeing. She took me to see Parsons’ swinging bridge, and then up to Olsen’s tower, an old fire tower, high up the mountain toward Thomas. We climbed to the top and shivered from cold winds and rain, and dizzying heights. Despite the heavy fog, we could see forever.

While we were exploring the area near the tower, Jodi saw goofy tree that she wanted to check out. We walked back in the woods through a complete undergrowth cover of ferns to check out the tree. I was taking pictures of various and sundry beauty when I very nearly stepped on a tiny fawn whose mother had hid her among the ferns under a fallen tree. She was doing as she was told and lying completely still until I nearly put my foot down on her, at which point she jumped and ran. I know she would have been obedient and laid there among the ferns for photos had I been clever enough to see a deer within 4 inches of my leg.

I showed her some tricks with the settings on her camera, so we drove over to Blackwater Falls so she could try them out. Ironically, the falls were quite different than they were last night. Apparently, I’d brought the rain with me, as I tend to do, so it had not been raining long when I arrived. Today though, there was a lot more water. Water was spilling over places on the ledge that had been dry last night. A different presentation.

Back at the house, we discussed religion and politics and weather, and the relationship of all three. Originally, the thought that ran as a thread through our conversation, regardless of what we were talking about, was inspired by my commentary on riding in the rain for 3 weeks. I’d followed up a comment with, “well you know what the Norwegians say – ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’” The more I thought about that statement, the more I realized how selfish I am in my expectations, even my prayers. I don’t often pray to be prepared for what challenges might come along, but rather, that challenges won’t come along. On this trip, nothing has turned out the way I expected. I’ve been mostly physically prepared for what I’ve experienced, but not at all emotionally prepared. Not at all.
It took me a lot of rainy riding days to realize that I was the one who was going to have to give. I could find a dry place and wait it out, but for how long? It has been raining for 3 weeks. Or I could change my expectations to match with reality, and accept that I’m going to keep experiencing something completely different than I’d planned. I realized that in the back of my mind, what I’d been praying for was not weather through which one could ride when properly prepared. I didn’t want to prepare. What I wanted was weather through which I could ride with a single pair of pants and a T-shirt. I wanted the weather to match my choice of clothing. I had no desire to match the weather with raingear.
“Here’s what I want to wear, God. Provide me with weather to make my choice of apparel appropriate.”
I think I’ll spare you the connection that this realization about myself made with the economy and politics. But it occurs to me that there may be much contentment to be found in what is, rather than constantly longing for what is not, or what is not yet. There will definitely be a sunny day – some day.