Last night I picked up an elephant tail from their mantle, thinking it a fireplace sweeper, and a hair fell out. “yeah, it’s old,” my host says reassuringly. I slept soundly wrapped in a nest of flannel and down. After riding nearly 80 miles in the mountainous high desert of central Oregon, I melted into the bed, dizzy and spent from the day and full from my hosts’ delicious outpouring of food drink and conversation.

My camera/phone was dead nearly all day yesterday. I wish I had photos to share with you, but they are only in my mind. Miles and miles of open land yellow and sparse for my spirit to fly free into as I rode along 97.

I had slept on the edge of a cemetery the night before, and slept fitfully after a car came, sat, and left, disturbing the private and safe feel of my camp. There was wind like wind I’ve felt on mountains and the lurking possibility that someone else could come through or that rains could come. I relinquished myself to the latter and prayed that I would be left alone. Sleep did not come easily or for long.

Earlier that day, a dear friend had sent me a touching recount of a molestation that had happened in her life a few years back. The details she included in the story touched me deeply. Her account of her emotional, mental, physical, spiritual struggle during and since the encounter left me thinking of ways I could prepare myself for such an event. The night in the cemetery I steeled myself, laid low and kept my finger on the trigger of the pepper spray. The van’s occupants didn’t near me or even acknowledge my presence save for a lingering glance as they exited, but the experience played out in my subconscious throughout my dreams that night.

I love traveling alone for many reasons, but it is for nights like these that I wish I had a traveling pack of wild tribespeople at my side to share in the experiences, provide solidarity, shelter, companionship, and a sense of safety. There is a lot of exhilaration in the solo stealth camping, but it’s equally as wearing night after night because of the amount of alertness I feel I need. In many ways this journey represents a spirit quest to me; one pilgrim’s venture into the wilderness to know and test herself. What would make it complete is a tribe to return to once it’s finished. This is the next step: the creation and pulling together of such a tribe. I deeply need this.

There’s snow on the radar this weekend in these parts. For today, it’s a beautiful, sunny one. I just passed Smith Rock, an amazing, towering stand-alone climbing rock off the edge of the road, and I’ve been ruminating on the words Evan left in the comment section of one of my recent posts,

Jesus says, whoever finds self is worth more than the world.

It reminds me of a Rumi quote, forsake the world and so command the world.

And another saying of Jesus, whoever seeks to save his life shall lose it and whoever loses his life will find it.

…finding rest in the stillness as I cease pedaling at midday. Wandering my mind on the balance of Doing and the bigger picture of the Universe’s Doings…

Patience.

Is the name of my bike.
Is my practice.