I had another pretty smooth day today – all things considering. I woke up early in camp and managed to get ready an on the road quicker than I have to date. I appreciate that morning time because the breezes are light, traffic is light, it’s cool, and it’s just a good time to be on the road. I’m a morning person at heart.
The directions today were simple and it was nice to not have to futz with the map. Take Route 5, stay on route 5, do not deviated from route 5.
It was challenging bucking the “breezes” today. I faced a headbreeze pretty much all day which provided plenty of opportunity to meditate on “regret”. Now I understand that regret is a pretty useless way to spend one’s time. I’ve struggled with that from time to time as Megan will tell you. Today it was pretty hard escaping the thought that it would have been really easy to be going the opposite direction (advice I got frequently and disregarded). I made the choice to go Westbound so that 1) I could finish at home and 2) I wanted to follow the way that this county was settled. And not for the first time on the trip I reminded myself that I am exactly where I decided to be (for most of us fortunate to have good choices, this is always true). That may sound like I’m being hard on myself but that’s not how it feels. It’s more of an affirmation than a condemnation. It reminds me that I had a choice, and that I made it for good reasons. But part of me also thinks that I chose this direction because it is hard, not in spite of it. That is consistent with other times when I choose the “challenging” path. I like to be challenged, and if it’s difficult then we’ll get better at it, or stronger for it. Does this make me a masochist? It sounds so much worse put that way, and I don’t think so. Wanting a challenge isn’t the same as wanting pain though sometimes they coincide. But I do like to have some kind of rock to push up the hill. For many years that has been kW and this trip is an experiment in putting down that one, even if I am kind of picking up another one.
There was a point today where the breeze, stiff as it was, stopped bothering me. That felt like something of a breakthrough and I hope I can hold that idea through Kansas.
Recently my buddy Kent W reminded me of something that I said to him on our hike through the Grand Canyon. (What an honor to have yourself quoted back to you! Thanks for that, Kent!). It’s something that I have often told myself and I kind of can’t believe that isn’t an adage already; You get better at what you do. Which really cuts more than one way. It means practice makes perfect but also that if you lie on the couch and watch TV you’ll get “good” at that too. So make good choices about how you spend your time because that will shape who you are. Nothing profound here but it occupied my thoughts today so thought I’d pass it along and see what you’ll think. Right now I’m getting better at riding “upbreeze” with no regrets.
I’ve really enjoyed the experience on this trip of paying attention to photography. Knowing that a few of you out there are watching has inspired me to “step up my game” which for me means slowing down,being more patient with the shots that I take, and paying attention. I’m getting pretty vigilant as I ride the bike to try and spot things that I think others would be interested in, or that are just simply beautiful. But I’ve also noticed that I have a tendency to focus on buildings. I’ve always loved architecture and I read a lot into the way a building is designed, and I see a lot of beauty in good design (and occasional atrocities). Also the simple form of the shapes and colors lends to an abstract beauty that draws me. But I don’t want to dwell all the time there because people are so interesting. Have you ever noticed what someone looking at your photos does if you let them control how long they look at each one? My experience is that most people flip through landscapes at a rapid clip and stop at the people.
I’ve done portraits before and, as an introvert, they’re challenging for me. To take a picture of people, on the go, as I am everyday, is hard. I don’t think it’s honest to just snap a photo of an individual without getting to know them (except maybe as a crowd or an event) so this shyness holds me back a little. I think this means that I need to slow down, get to know more people as I go, and then take their picture. I’m going to work on this. I started today – see if you can tell when.
I’m not crazy about the camp I picked tonight. It’s kind of RV land near Erie PA which isn’t really my taste. But they have wifi and hot showers for $20 so there’s that. It should allow me to do a quick tour in the morning of the nearby Presque Isle State Park which looks interesting.