And back again in time for a quick re-load before heading overseas through Toronto.
I know I am due in for some pictures and I assure you,
I return home from Vancouver as my final stop in this crazy little trip home. July 26th feels like yesterday and now it is September 3rd and I must get ready to go. But to quote The Trews best known and only #1 hit (who I saw live in concert in Vancouver, random night with brother plus two friends, as we get into this Nike Run party with the Trews and Theory of a Deadman in downtown Vancouver, then they give us soy milk and apples for free, then Thomas' friend Spencer gets two bagels for free. And eats them. Yes folks, thats sort of how Vancouver went), "I'm not ready to go".
Its two fold, one, the actual act of packing up stuff, coordinating, organizing, weighing suitcases, figuring out weather and biking plus hiking plus formal dinners plus shoes plus boots plus computer plus sanity isn't an easy or happy, dare I say, task. Two fold, there is more I wanted to do, more people to see, more places to go. And I didn't make it all, I couldn't do it all, try as I might to spread my wings and engulf L.O.B. (life outside of Backroads) I could only do what I could, try where I could and attempt to be present through it all. Cripes. Thats a LOT for one girl (woman?) to handle.
So I am preparing myself in the best way I can for another leg of this journey. This time through Piedmont, an area I know very little about besides that Piedmont means, 'foot of the mountain', wait a sec, Piedmont has mountains?? Oh boy.
Soon, friends, I write again soon. Amore. Pace.
PS. My next blog is going to be entitled, "Isn't it totally awesome I went to Italian School for weeks in the Spring and my vocabulary is limited to words and phrases related to the gym, wine and shoes, great work on keeping up with that Holly, I am sure the completely Italian speaking contractors in Piedmont are going to be really thrilled when all you can say is, 'Hi, I am Holly, where is the weight room, can I have a lock for the door, what time is spinning class, I'd like another glass of the house red, do you like my new shoes?' "
I am laying hip over hip, nurse right leg splayed and bleeding on a small pile of gravel. My bike is still jammed under my feet clipped stubbornly into the pedals. The water bottle in its cage is dripping onto my sock, discount and I can hear the dull roar of the traffic on this Saturday morning in Calgary. The corner is behind me mocking my turning incompetence and the street I am bleeding onto is one I haven’t seen. A street in NE Calgary accessible to me by bike as I attempt to iron out bits of my sanity by pedaling and sweat, like somehow the forward motion of my legs on bike will emulate smooth forward motion of my life when the past few weeks have felt like jerky jammed gears as I have transitioned from Ireland to Calgary to Canmore to work, ducking in and out of each day and week with the smoothness of a six year old attempting to gain their balance for the first time without their training wheels.
I’m having another moment.
I am standing in line to board the airplane that will take me from London back to my continent. I realize I am home. I do not want to leave.
I am have a different moment.
I am driving a fully loaded Backroads van with kids and co-leader from the Athabasca Glacier to Num Ti Jah Lodge. There are kids screaming in the van, the Canadian music on the stereo and for just a moment the sleeting rain has lifted to reveal some of the range before and behind us. The mountains stand tall and the clouds slip in and out of the tips like a gigantic exhale of smoke. I forgot, I realized, how beautiful it is here.
I’m having a moment.
My back is pressed against a brown outhouse wall and my fingertips from around the corner can feel the handle of the door. I am singing loudly as my companion, a fully-grown grizzly bear walks slowly six feet across from me. He seems in no hurry. Cars have jammed the road and I am in this small parking lot alone, setting up the bikes for the morning and for the day when this visitor surprises me. He walks with certainty in my direction. I remember slowly step by step what to do. I also realize that these steps in my head must be like when someone is set on fire and all they can hear in their ears is their second grade teacher yelling: STOP. DROP. ROLL. Except my stop drop roll is slow. Move backwards. Make noise. Be deliberate. Do not act like prey. Do not be alone (failed that part). As the Griz moves into the bush and I am left alone with my heart pounding in my chest and tears running down my cheeks I realize. I am having a moment.
Splayed, splattered, scared and here have been my life since my last trip in Ireland phased into a journey home. A stop in Toronto to visit my parents, Mat’s weekend visit, a Camping Trip with our company president, a few days off, another trip that brings me back to Hillary’s apartment where I face a life of boxes, a life of choice and a life of uncertainty that I recognize I inherently love, the way mothers love strange looking children, despite the bizarre lifestyle it has me leading.
I have a few days to absorb the goodness this place has to offer before I pack for Piedmont via Tuscany via Toronto. As I ebb and change I am grateful for the people who have been my rocks in these awkward weeks (and months) prior… and to their gifts and presence that has held me together.
Back to my moment. I continue to bleed onto the pavement of this strange and familiar street. I pick myself up and get back on the bike and slowly I pedal on. Shaky at first I am surprised to find the movement doesn’t feel as funny as I thought and I carry on with my Saturday morning.