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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Road, the Man, and the Bicycle

Yes, it is Yom Kippur, but this is not a Yom Kippur post.  Please go forward in peace and seek the ability to forgive.  I am terrible at that, so I have no practical advice to offer in that arena.

 It is the 24th birthday of my second son and it is my wish that the upcoming year be filled with inspiration and good luck for him.  This summer after graduating from college with a degree in English, a concentration in writing, and a minor in Spanish he took off with all that education on board to ride his bicycle cross country on the Northern Tier Route by himself.  Pictured above is his bike and below is both the bike and the man as they crossed from Pennsylvania into New York.  It is a long way to go by yourself, and as is so often the case with personal quests, some of it was very good and some of it was very hard.
The thing that I learned about myself as a result of all this is that I was not a very good offspring.  I took off one summer for South America and had very little contact with my parents the entire time I was gone.  I traveled to two regions that were literally off the grid--the Altiplano and the jungle in Bolivia.  In the Altiplano we were not only out of telephone contact, we were not on a road.  We would stop and ask bicycling Aymarans we met the basic direction that we wanted to go and we pointed the car in that direction.  In sharp contrast, I knew almost every step of the way where my offspring was and what challenges and successes he had during his trip.  In conclusion, I apologize to my parents and thank and congratulate my child.  It is complicated to realize that I ask for more reliability in my offspring than I was capable of providing myself.  It is tempting to offer the excuse that technology affords us so much more, but the truth is that it is a much deeper divide than that.  So I am thankful.  May you all be written into the book of life.

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