I know I’ve been trying to keep this blog positive, but maybe we can’t always have positivity. Maybe it’s too naive, or disingenuous. We can aim for optimism, we can aim for strength. We can reach for that good idea that makes sense and does no harm.
Last week I had major oral surgery: 2 teeth pulled, then three bone grafts and four implants installed in my face. The easy thing to do is write a blog post about the smoothies I’ve been drinking, but that will be too easy (turmeric, spirulina, maca, coconut milk, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, frozen kale or spinach, and a half scoop of protein powder). Yesterday, I went on my first bike ride since surgery, and I actually hit a few PRs, according to Strava (disclaimer, I often forget to turn on Strava so that data could be tainted). I wore my new Club Ride Drop Bib chamois, which was a literal game changer. I wish I had those shorts on the Great Divide Wow. I’ve been complaining about bib shorts for years, and had a few designs that only ever surfaced while getting drunkenly angry while lamenting with guy cycling friends at the bar, post-ride, about how annoying women’s cycling gear options in general are, and how we are a very large demographic that is not taken seriously. Due to a pro deal with Outdoor ProLink, I was finally able to test out one of the models that have come out over the past couple years. The design isn’t perfect (zippers, tight-fitting mesh spandex, and sticky sweaty thighs aren’t a perfect combination when trying to do a quick pee behind a bush in a county park), but it is definitely an appreciated start, the zippers stay up, and the shorts in general are comfortable and well-fitting.
I refuse to let fear get in the way of being a sanctuary.
I’ve been struggling to find meaning and positivity these past few months. Everything has been tinted with heartbreak, anger, resentment. I try to remember compassion, and it is only with daily meditation that I can break from the negative feelings. It has, however, manifested in efforts to support my own community, to hold compassion in a general sense for the environment and my neighbors. On Sunday, we saw the fruit of our organizing efforts as our Writers Resist event here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was beyond capacity. There was standing room only, then no room at all, and crowds buzzed outside or went in the side door to give donations. We raised so much money for New Energy Economy and Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families that to state the numbers would be bragging. I talked briefly with an old mentor, Greg Glazner, a wonderful writer and kind heart who was always my cheerleader in college, who supported me as a writer and a person, and just a few sentences with him brought me to my sanity.
I have a lot of stories on my mind lately, and a lot in draft as well. From going on an epic hike with a bum knee in a hail storm at Great Sand Dunes to getting lost on my bike on a mountain in Los Alamos and getting saved by a man wearing all purple, plus everything from moving into a new house to painting an 8-room law office in Albuquerque to the avoidable death of (yet another) friend, it’s been a busy, confusing, heartbreaking, heartswelling, monumental month. I have these stories lined up, like I said, but today I left for my morning walk with the dog ready to put them on the back burner and write a post about the importance of finding what in life will keep us going (for me it’s riding my bike, writing, and celebrating the physical challenges of the body [a reason I love boxing]); by the end of the walk, I was feeling a bit less depressed—isn’t that the goal, to always strive to feel just a bit less depressed than the moment before?—I was sick of thinking about that sort of thing. I still think it will be an important story to tell, but the story I want to tell right now is a story with forward motion, the story of preparing for my bike trip. Here’s a picture of all my gear:
There’s something about wind that makes me anxious. A good storm is one thing, but wind, even (or especially) without rain gets my pores opened and pupils dilated, and my thoughts are whirled around in the chaos.
This week we’ve been camping at the Black Canyon Campground in Santa Fe National Forest. There is a bathroom right next to our campsite and just past that, a hiking trail. I wake up in the morning at 7:15, feed the dog and use the facilities. Go back to bed for another 20 minutes. Evan makes coffee, I let the dog out, and then head out on a hike with the family. It’s a lollipop trail that takes about 45 minutes and is pretty hilly, and by the time we are done, I have enough of an appetite for breakfast: almond buttered toast, protein shake, or maybe some fried polenta and vegan sausage if I have a big training ride ahead of me.
Long time readers may remember the unfortunate condition of my back. While I’ve always had back pains since my teen years, due to sports related injuries and childhood stupidity, it got worse during the start of this blog due to a few bad bike accidents. The worst crash was in 2011, when I smashed my tailbone and ultimately created a problem with my spinal column that makes it narrower than it should be. Having a lifelong practice of stretching and strengthening has helped me maintain my back health for the most part, and yoga is an integral part of that in my adult life. Acclimate weather, stress and sitting for too long (like in the car or at the computer) are all triggers for pain, and not just for those of us who’ve experienced back trauma.