Day 37 Monday, August 15 Walden to Steamboat Springs, CO 58 miles
Over the course of the last three or so weeks a song has emerged on certain days but then disappeared until later. It is one that I was first introduced to in the 90’s even though it had been around for many years before that. I was reminded of it again today as I headed west from Walden enroute to Steamboat Springs, CO. I anticipated that the day would not be too difficult–about 60 miles with one good pass up Rabbit Ears before reaching the picturesque valley around Steamboat Springs. What I didn’t count on was a pretty stiff headwind that dogged me for nearly all of the first 40 miles. This Peter, Paul and Mary song came back to me once again.
Sometimes it takes the dark to let us see the light
You can’t have that victory unless you’ve fought the fight
Sometimes it takes a winding road to lead us home
While you’re windin’ ’round my friend just don’t go windin’ ’round alone.
Obviously the presence of the wind was the impetus for the song to re-emerge, but there has been a more important part of the song that has been working on me: “While you’re winding ’round my friend just don’t go windin’ ’round alone.” I am both attracted to this line and somewhat perplexed by it. I don’t know exactly what to do with it.
This morning I talked to my mom. Let’s clear this up right now. I have a Mom #1 and a Mom #2. Mom #1 came back into my life when I was 32 years old. I still don’t understand exactly what happened, but the effect was that when I was three years old Mom #1 went her own way. She and I have been reconnecting in recent years for which I am thankful. Mom #2 is the mother I attempted to contact in Loveland without success.
This pilgrimage is very important to me. My therapist and I have agreed that something is coming to an end in my life. I think it has something to do with the lyrics of this song. The song is highly attractive and puzzling at the same time. I feel like replying to the song, “Well, that’s well and good but you can’t make people want to be there for you.” At a deep level I still have this worldview that if I am going to make it I’ll have to do it on my own. On the other hand, I have evidence from a host of experiences and relationships that I am not traveling this journey of life alone. I am shaped by the experience of abandonment, yet I have also survived because of the people who have walked with me.
This is my growing edge. The evidence is there, but I still don’t quite trust it. I certainly have not yet learned to ask for it! I am still hesitant to accept the support that is there as if I don’t like people playing with my “go it solo” worldview. It’s how I see the world. Don’t go changing the channel on me! This worldview is cracking and with it a greater yearning to shoulder the journey with others is emerging. “Sometimes it takes a winding road to lead us home, while your winiding round my friend just don’t go windin’ ’round alone.” I just didn’t know there was any other way. I want it to be so!
Tonight I am in Steamboat Springs. It is good to be here. Our family used to make an annual trip to Steamboat to fish and camp at Service Creek just a few miles away. I still have a scar on my leg from getting caught on barbed wire while trying to locate the best fishing hole. The last time I was at Service Creek my dad and I just made it a father/son outing before I went off to college and he and Mom #2 divorced. I still remember how it felt to talk as father and son as if I had suddenly earned rights to his personal life. I still cherish the honesty and the intimacy of that trip into the woods.
I am staying at the Alpiner Lodge in downtown Steamboat. The circumstances of my stay would be unusual except for the fact that I am no longer surprised by the connections I am making on the trip. I met Alex from Melbourne, Australia at the top of the western Rabbit Ears Pass Summit. We were standing under a sign that warned semis of a steep grade and runaway ramps. Both of us complained that there were a number of false summits that left us cursing under our breaths as we rounded corners to see “just one more hill” to the top. Alex and I are sharing the room and the cost tonight. He is making decisions about his next direction and I am giving him what information I have gleaned on the trip so far. We don’t really know each other, but there is something about being on the bike that cuts through the usual sizing up of character. 30 minutes on the bike together and now we are sharing a room!
As I write, I am finding myself tempted to stay another day here. Wash certainly needs to be done. But, more importantly it almost feels like I need to let the emotions of the last few days catch up to the route. I am getting better at honoring the “pacing thing” thanks to your feedback and Eastminster’s blessing. I’ll see how I feel in the morning. I will close with another verse of Peter, Paul and Mary from the same song. I need to hear them. I am guessing many of you do too.
Yes there are hands here to comfort you
And if you need there are tears to cry with you too
And there are hearts that will sing with you
And voices to cheer when you’ve finally made it through
Now that’s a world I can believe in.