Saturday, May 23, 2009

On being home after a "big deal" ride

May 23, 2009


A quiet morning here in Asheville. Well, sort of. We had a big night last night with parties. Today we’re preparing some picnics and some lunches and some more parties, not to mention filling our deli case with local deliciousness. Some early risers are here having breakfast. Some lunch wanderers are beginning to find their way in. It looks like it might rain a bit later which will be fine. The gardens at home are filled with new seeds, new plants, new promise. Rain is a good thing.

I realized today that I have now been done with the bike ride for one whole month. Amazing. When I was on it, it felt like it would never end. In a good way. I loved the long days of nothing but riding. Now, home, I am putting my life back together, remembering things that are good here, imagining how to put that experience into this one. It’s a tricky thing, going away and doing something big and then coming home and trying to get re-centered.

One fun thing is to get up early and go to the markets. Ours are loaded with promise. Loaded with parts. Loaded with things made with love, grown with love. I’ve been wandering around talking to my friends who farm, inviting them to come here to share their thoughts on why they do what they do. I mean, farming is not the very most lucrative way to have a life. So what keeps them going? What fills them? I find this the most interesting thing – learning a bit more about these folks. We’ll have someone who is a biodynamic farmer. Someone who is a part-time farmer and part-time carpenter. Others will come too. I’m excited. June 11th. Come join us, won’t you?

I like having things to look forward to. I think this was a big mistake I made with this ride. I forgot that it would end and that I would have to find new things to do, new projects, new inspirations. Imagine forgetting that? Ah well. So now, filled with the promise in my garden beds and the bustling markets and even in my bee hives, I am letting it soak in and am rediscovering the inspiration. Our dinner is all about that.

I guess it has been okay to have been fairly open about all of this. A part of me scolds myself and says, “Oh get OVER it. You did a bike ride. Big deal. It’s done. You’re home. Enough already.” But I’ve also heard from enough people to know that this roughness is something that happens to others too and so perhaps by being open to this time I will learn more AND you might too. Or maybe it is just a good thing to know that you are not the only one experiencing a hard time. When I was recovering from my second round of cancer, twenty-one years ago next week, it was enormously helpful to me and to others to talk about what I was going through. Emotionally going through.

So there you have it. If you want to read more you can always visit the ride blog. I’m writing a bit more there. And as I move along through this time, I’m trying to be pretty open about it all. I do know it is nice to see a big blue pot filled with flowers. That I really know for sure.

I’ll be in touch next week.
Until then, come see me for some food made with love. Some “joy on a plate.”

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Hi there,

May 9th. Saturday. Beautiful spring day. Kitchen’s a bustle. Life is good.

This is my last week as a 54 year old. It has been a spectacular year, all things considered. A year ago I was about to take myself on a one week bike ride on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, my first trip to that spot. I was not sure I could do the ride in any degree of comfort. I was coming off a heartbreak and needed some healing and some distance. The ride seemed like a good thing to do.

It was.

A week after I came home I got a note from the ride organizers mentioning a ride across the United States for this spring. I said, out loud, “I’d like to do that.” And Emily, my office manager, said, out loud. "I think you should.” So it began.

Here now, a year later, I have done it. Ridden my bicycle across the country. At the moment I have a tweaked back which makes it especially hard to believe that I did this ride. But I have a bunch of pictures to look at and a bunch of people to write to and a bunch of newspaper clippings and I KNOW it happened. Somehow it happened.

I think it is important to keep a vision, to keep a dream, to state things out loud. To write things down and look at them and know, somehow know, that things will, can, do happen. Unimaginable things. Really. I know this. You can trust me. I do.

And it also is understandable to be home and to be wondering how to put that into this. I saw a guide yesterday who talked about relaxing and letting go and not trying to push anything into anyplace. Just let go, trust. Keep trusting. Keep imagining, though that is not necessary, really.

And a couple of things have happened that make me sit up and take notice. The cafĂ© is busy. The staff is making really good food. The people who come here are coming, coming, coming in. Yesterday someone said, “Whenever I have something important, really important to do, I come to Laurey’s first. I eat, filling my body and my soul. And then I go do that thing. It is the way I start to do everything that is really important to me.”

And this morning someone picked up a bite of her quiche and said to me, “This is Joy on a plate.”

So those are good things. This is a fine place. I am incredibly lucky to have this as the place to come home to. I’m a part of something bigger than me here. And that is a very good thing. Going away. Coming home. Putting the two together. Creating a vision. Living it. It’s head spinning. And I’m happy to be home.

Oh – I turn 55 this week. Double Nickel. Another auspicious number. Another opportunity. Whoo whee! Whoa. Hold on. Here we go.