Thursday, April 16, 2009
Riding to Bogalusa, Louisiana
I rode by myself today. A first. A good thing to do. I like riding with the other three. But today we passed a Wildlife Park and I wanted to go in. The others didn't. So we parted.
As it turned out, the Wildlife Park's tours were completely booked. Masses of school children filled every possible seat in the cars and so the three of us who had wanted to try to get a better look at the animals were foiled. From a distance it was possible to see Llamas and Emus and Camels and odd deer of the African Veldt variety. (Elands, Dik Diks, exotic things, all.) And it was also possible to see the tractor-pulled cars loaded with screaming kids all tossing pellets of exotic animal feed at the Reindeer and the Antelopes and the Bison.
I'm glad the tour was full.
By the time the three of us who were trying to get on a tour were escorted out of the park (the animals all run free and the people are all confined to cars - and bicycles are not allowed unless tucked into a car or truck) the other three I usually ride with had moved on. Which left me riding with Nancy and Carol for a short time, but I ride faster than they do so I ended up passing them and riding on alone.
The countryside is beautiful here today. It's very green. They had rain recently, probably on that tornado day. All the rivers are above their banks, the water, swirls of mud and sticks. Leaves are fully out now and the roads, country lanes for the most part, were lined with buttercups and clover and verbena and some odd little white thing that I've never seen before.
And riding alone was a new experience. No one to rely on for the turns. No one to share the lead. No one to rest behind. No one, for that matter, to inconvenience. No one cared if I stopped to put on my sweater or stopped to take it off. I did both a few times just for the novelty of it. And, no surprise, there was no one to exclaim to, to sing to, to chortle with, to become annoyed by. No one to get to share the day with. No one to have to share it with either.
This, as I said, is our last day in Louisiana. I'm starting to think about going home, about returning to my life. I'm starting to wonder about it all, about the important things, the simple things, the conclusions, the things I want to have forever and the things I want to forget (there's not much in that category.)
This trip has been and continues to be a life-changer. But to what? For what? I guess that is something I can't know yet. As I figure it out, well, you know what will happen by now, don't you?
In the meantime, I'll be in touch tomorrow. From Mississippi.