Showing posts from 2015

Fifteen more Miles.

"Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal."  -Johann Von Goethe
Goals should be set high, pushing us to achieve what we thought was impossible. I am close.

there was Smoke. then Something Changed.

He wanted to quit. The pain was great and the effort had nearly reduced him to tears. But something was changing. 
A compelling tone of encouragement reverberated from somewhere inside. Still, he wanted to quit, but couldn't...or wouldn't. Either way, can't or won't, something was changing and it was good. 
Buried deep within the recesses of the soul, darkness and light dance together. In this place we find our limits are made of smoke. Here we find fire...and something is changed.
Find your fire.

Railroads and Road Blocks

Winding away from me, down the tracks in either direction, no end in sight, are hoppers filled with anthracite. The sounds about me, wind whistling in my ears and gravel popping under my tires, dims and disappears as I approach and stop at the railroad crossing. Nature’s beautiful silence fills the void...birds singing both near and far. 
It’s November and my coordinates are roughly 39.30*N and 87.23*W, the days grow short and the shadows long as the South Pole tilts toward the sun. A coal hopper casts a shadow of doubt over what is an otherwise glorious day. Roadblocks tend to do that. 
Lucky for me I have a bike with attitude, it will go just about anywhere. And so we do. After a quick survey of the situation and a smile for myself, obstacle turns to opportunity. No, I didn’t hobo the wasn’t going anywhere. Along the rail-bed I head East and eventually South. About a quarter mile down the line I find one end of the train. There was no locomotive attached to the last hopper,…

Courage and Grace: Put Your Boat in the Water.

Life, like a river, does not sit on the bank and watch itself flow by. Moving...always toward destiny under different circumstances, in a state of peacefulness, rage, flood or recession...always moving. Regardless of the conditions, we need only courage and grace: the courage to put our boat in the water and the grace to delight in the journey. We will get there...eventually. 
*Photo by Jim Cota, Wabash River

A Breach for Acquittal and Conspiracy

Up here, 34,000 feet above everything, hurdling through the atmosphere at 540 mph - I quietly contemplate. This space is somewhere between Heaven and Earth.
Up here, the narrowly focused view constitutes considerable perspective - I am. And, in this moment, up here, all at once time stands still, retreats, and then gently disappears.
Up here, in the space between, is a breach for acquittal and release. Up here, in the space between, resides faith to conspire and court what will be. It's beautiful up here.

Here I sit, at a bridge. Contemplating.

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known." -Winnie the Pooh

Situated on a country road in the shallow valley of a forest near my childhood home there sits a moss-covered concrete bridge. The canopy above opens and closes at the wind's command, letting golden sunlight dance on the water gently flowing out from under the bridge, toward tomorrow.
I have crossed this bridge too many times to count. An interestingly uninteresting structure, this bridge is, for a couple reasons. It literally delivered me from childhood to points near and far about the globe. But more importantly…because there were other roads from my house to the world…this bridge served as a portal for the imagination, dreams, and adventure of a boy.
But we forget. 
We allow the act of crossing a bridge to become so common place that we fail to recognize or acknowledge the impo…

An act of Piracy

"Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course?" -Weatherby Swann

There is something seductive about the sea that beckons man to her shores. She dances, whispers, calms, and quenches the soul. She comes and goes by the pull of the Moon and kisses the beach endlessly with the mysterious intonation of a siren.
Here I sit half in and half out of the water, touched by time long passed as it marches up the beach, wave after wave, moment after moment. This water, witness to the legend of the world - having rained down on a garden named Eden, made holy by Honorius II, and fallen salty from the cheek of a crying child - now bastes my legs.
My mind is quiet, all is quiet. I am present, but not here. Completely connected and totally disengaged. In the distance a two-masted schooner, a pirate's preferred vessel, sails on the dark blue edge silently becoming one with the horizon. 
As diamonds dance on the hope …

I've seen that smile before.

Lucille Rees: Always more smile than frown, more friend than foe, and more sweet than sour. Every day she demonstrates how to be more full than empty, more strong than weak, and how to give more than take. Lucy is all these things because she's more interior than exterior, more pond than pool, and more Mom than Dad.
Terre Haute South Winter Homecoming Coronation, January 2015 -Photography by Caleb Pettit 

"Always answer on the first knock. Always."

"Beer and wings, Wednesday at 7:30. Attendance is mandatory, unless you can't make it."  I expect to receive this cryptic message, or a derivation thereof, at some point in time every Tuesday. Twenty other guys receive the same knock at their door, and on any given Wednesday, 10-12 answer by showing up at the appointed place and time. We will squeeze around 3-4 tables to share food, stories, laughter and a couple hours of time.
Time has no agenda, emotion, feelings or concerns, yet it's always here. Here, not there. Time waits on no one. Time doesn't care if you dance; it just sets the beat and keeps itself. I try to surround myself with people who recognize this simple, yet difficult to grasp concept. The implacable drum beat of death plays for us all, whether we realize or accept that is an entirely different matter. 
It was August 2014, and my son, Jack would be leaving soon for his first year at DePauw University. I asked him to join me for a Wednesday night ou…

Falling down. Getting up.

On a regular basis, I purposefully enter the woods to find myself lost. It's a fact, you have to be lost before you can be found. 
A couple weeks ago, while getting myself lost, I quickly discovered how ill-prepared I was for the intended expedition. The ground was frozen and I had the wrong tires on the bike with entirely too much air. I went down three times. The first two falls were relatively harmless. The third fall harbored a greater level of intensity. It caught my attention. In fact, there was enough intensity involved that I took inventory. 
After testing the larger pieces of my body to determine if I remained intact and was working properly, I laid back down. I was lost. It was beautiful. 
Eventually, I started talking to Me: "What in Hell do you think you're doing...riding a bike in the middle of a 250 acre forest...alone? Seriously, you're closer to 50 than 47!" 
Then, Me says to I: "Relax, I'm out here to fall down. You can't pick yourself u…

Good things come in threes.

AMI, FL, USA - Three girls: Helen, Margaret, Lucy
Good things come in threes. True. But we also hear that bad things come in threes. Again, true. For future reference please note that bad news is readily available and nearby when a person is looking for and expecting it! 
The same can be said for good news or good fortune. How many times have you heard Hard Luck Charlie exclaim, "Good luck follows (insert a name) around like a lost puppy! He wakes up and Fortune has coffee brewed and waiting on his front porch." 
Good things happen to those who are looking for it. One, two, three. Ready, set, go! 
So what's with the number 3? No idea, all I have is a cool picture of three girls on a beach. 

The Speed of Life

"There is more to life than simply increasing its speed." -Mahatma Gandhi
I pedaled by this 'twice-blasted road closed sign' at about 20mph, on Friday, January 2. The day was brisk at 36 degrees Fahrenheit, yet it wasn't cold. Cloudy but not grey. I was making good time on a planned 35 mile shake-down on the Domane, and a shake-down of myself after spending much of December on rollers.

Most of my surroundings on this Midwestern January day had assumed the color of winter, earthy and largely brown. Throw an orange sign in on that back drop and it tends to jump...if you're paying attention. I was paying attention. But I was making good time! Still the urge to capture an image of what had just caught my eye was strong. I rode on. Making good time.

At about a half-mile 'post sign' I got on the brakes, stood up and turned around. Why was I so intrigued with a road closed sign where there was no road?! Mounted to a fence post at the gated entrance of a pic…