Vicarious Adventure

The group of cyclist riding south from Watson Lake to Yellowstone just posted news of their first nine days on the road. Reading it I’m transported to days past when I’d take off on long bike rides, rides before monastic life. Riding in Ireland in the rain, peddling up hills to the sometimes fast, often slow, rhythm of the Can Can. Dah, da, da, da, da, dah, dah da, da, da, da,…. My how it can rain in Ireland; and on the road south from Watson Lake by all accounts.

Monday August 25th
Rain thru the night and into the morning. We lie in our tents waiting to see who will be the first to make a move. We rally around 9:30 AM. Cook up the rest of our oatmeal which is around six bites per person and heavily supplemented by spoonfuls of peanut butter. The dirt road we came to our campsite is now a mudslide puddle mixture so we push our bikes through the woods and up the steep embankment to the road. The rain subsides and we are back on the road. We make good time into Fort Nelson. The forestlands give way to cleared pastures affording us magnificent views of the country. To the West we can see snow capped peaks of the coastal ranges. We spot the old remains of a blackbear road kill.
Great photos too.

This post is offered in memory of Cuthbert who, in his early years in Montana, would pick up road kill and bury it. He was known as ‘the man who picks up animals’. Later he was killed in New York. A truck ran over him, and his bike, at a crossing. After that I sold the priory bicycle and didn’t climb aboard one for well over ten years. Taking a short ride to break the biking fast seemed like a good thing to do at the time. My serious biking days are over though.

Good fortune to the riders in the wilds.

Errr! 11.30 p.m. That sounds like the Racoons out in the garden again, pulling up the lawn and washing their spoils in the fountain. Wild life in Berkeley. Bless em.

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One thought on “Vicarious Adventure”

  1. Hi, Rev. Master Mugo! Your raccoon account reminds me of Rev. Master Kinrei’s visit: we swapped raccoon stories. There is a delightful poem by Rodney Jones about midnight visits from these little bandits: I dug it out and mailed a copy to him and thought you might also enjoy it:

    Raccoon Time

    Perhaps in searching for a den, it had squeezed through
    The terra-cotta pipe atop the chimney and dropped
    In a skittering tumble through the rusted damper
    To lie for a while in the soot by the andirons,
    Stunned and licking its injuries, and in that instant
    Probably did not know itself raccoon, but went on
    Out of a habitual raccoon fastidiousness,
    Sniffing the ghosts of the chopping block,
    Rearing on the piano bench to touch the dry
    Black noses of the keys. What did it glean
    Of our sealed wilderness and hidden springs?
    The faucet dripped. The soap sang in its dish.
    We live in a dim inkling or a rapt afterness,
    But something was here and one of us for at least
    An hour when Gloria shook me from sleep,
    Saying, “Quick, the dog has a live
    Animal in Samuel’s room,” and I went naked
    And fearless as I was imagining rabbit or bird.
    When it wheeled out of the shadow of the bed,
    At first it seemed huge as a bear or Bengal tiger,
    Making me holler something like huge and rabid
    As it went past me in a fierce downgearing waddle,
    Spun, and clawed on down the stairs, with first
    The dog and then Gloria, beating a plastic
    Laundry tub on the rug and going eee-iii, eee-iii,
    For she is an impetuous woman descended from generals
    While I am a person to stand back in emergencies,
    Weighing escape routes. I do not ever cross
    A bridge but that whole histories of options
    Crop up like bubbles from the river’s bottom;
    As I pulled on my jeans while hearing
    The thumps, eee-iii’s, masked snarls, and shattering
    Of pots, the thought of my wife’s resolve
    So quickly shamed me to the quick of things
    That there I was, like a lock on the stairs,
    When it found the open door and trickled out,
    No Grendel perhaps, though I put it here shining
    As if at the center of a heraldic shield,
    With her going at it and me standing back
    To tell the story. If that is the place of men,
    It will be no less glory for me, and she
    Will have that image to balance those more
    Cautious nights when she defers to my wisdom.

    Rodney Jones
    From “The End of the Southern Drawl”
    Houghton Mifflin, 1999

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