Thursday, May 14, 2009


This is a photo from Wakulla Springs. You may remember (or scroll down to see) the picture of just my legs, jumping off the high platform into the springs. My friend Janet Bee took that picture and was VERY upset that she cut off my body. Actually, I LOVE that picture. If we'd tried a hundred times I doubt we could have come up with such a perfect picture.

This picture was taken by someone else on the ride. Elisabeth, fully dressed stood up on the high platform and took some pictures of the three of us who were brazen enough to jump. The funny thing is that I jumped because Mik, our guide from the first half of the ride, had told us to jump and think of her. I took that to mean, jump and think of HER jumping. Well, turns out she had NOT jumped, but had stayed up on that high platform for two hours, never managing to get the guts to jump. I wonder what I would have done if I'd known that she had not jumped.

Today is my 55th birthday. I have a sore back, still, from lifting up my suitcase AFTER the ride. I have not been on my bicycle since the ride except for a token 9 miles. I am sore and filled with curiosity about the ride and about what it meant and about what I want to and need to and should be doing now. 55 seems like a big deal. Not as big as 60. Bigger than 50.

My friend Olivia read my chart and said this will be a big year. Moving out of the place which says work is everything into a place that places greater importance on internal, spiritual matters. And, she said, moving from one to the other will take time and will involve a good dose of confusion.

She got that one right on the nose. I feel dizzy, unsure, wobbly, spinning. When I left, things seemed sure and certain and, though hard, familiar. The ride offered a great time of routine. I knew what I had to do each day. I knew there were things I did not have to think about, like where we were staying or what we were eating for dinner. I had little jobs, like stacking the chairs after dinner or handing out the cue sheets. Simple, simple things.

The contrast is pretty sharp. I crafted a vision that brought me to the place I am now. And it has suited me just fine for a long time. But 55 feels like a big marker and I feel an internal urge, just like the urge I get to clean my house in April, to craft the next one.

Which makes my head spin.

Annie, who is here for my birthday, and who was my biggest surprise of the bike ride, counsels patience, as does everyone else who has an opinion. I am, she reminds me, the main one who is impatient with myself. Everyone else, I remind myself, has their own issues, challenges, desires, visions.

And I am listening to the people who ask for a book from this time of mine. I am aware that this book will be about the ride itself, but also the part that is going on right this very second. This, I remind myself, is what everyone goes through. A neighborhood church near here has one of those signs with removable letters. Right now it says, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with that." Good counsel.

So I think I'll pick this thought collection back up on a more regular basis. Write me if you wish to, if you have a thought to send my way or some ideas for this book. Write either here or on my personal e-mail:

And thank you for sharing this journey and my birthday with me.

Here we go!


Heather Masterton said...

Saw The Natural this evening – even Robert Redford couldn’t make it too hokey to hear this great line from Bernard Malamud (they gave the line to Glenn Close, thank god).

“I believe we have two lives – the life we learn with, and the life we live with after that.”

Anne Cowan said...

Times were very difficult when I got back from my ride, and turned 58 the next day. Now I am 60 (last week) and it feels great. I went through very tough times when I returned from the Southern Tier! It took a long time to get back into the swing of life, very long. I felt like the AT thru-hikers who get to Katahdin and don't know what to do and turn around and start hiking back to Georgia. This feeling will pass.

Today, I volunteered at the County Health Department, Women's and Men's Health Fair. There is nothing like it to make you feel incredibly YOUNG!! I came home and rode 25 miles in the best time I have ever had. It just made me appreciate the health that I have and to keep taking care of it!

I am thinking of you!

Elisabeth E. Tully said...

Happy Birthday Laurey! You share a birthday with my father, who turned 88 on the 14th. I think of you just about every day, and am looking forward to seeing you soon. You sound good. Blog often, for your friends who love you, ad for yourself.