I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing happens! Nothing…
Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly
in the new life?
It’s been one week since my 320 mile journey from Fortuna, CA ended safe and soppy at San Francisco’s City Hall. Since then, with all of you in mind, I’ve been trying to piece together a synopsis of the event – a couple of cleanly written, succinct and inspiring paragraphs to summarize the success of our activism and the mission we accomplished.
Much to my own confusion, I can’t.
It’s not that there wasn’t success, which I’ll get to in a minute. But last Thursday, upon leaving the 124 other cyclists and walking my bike towardBART, I was weighted-down by more than my backpack. I was feeling an unwelcome sense of anti-climax.
In ways I could never have predicted, last week’s Climate Ride was epic: Northern California’s rainy season began the evening of day one, and day two featured a winding 12 mile mountain descent in a downpour. The fourth night delivered a midnightstorm so severe tents were ripped apart. On a brighter note, the week also included miles of coast-side pedaling, paralleling pelicans flying in formation. And, the fortitude of the group was astounding! Individually, each of us admitted we wanted a warm bath and dry clothes, but as a group, we surprised every doubter within by showing-up to breakfast each morning, bedecked in spandex, ready to ride. I am no longer afraid of cycling in the rain, even when my shoes are squishing puddles and the raindrops are forming a waterfall at the end of my nose!
There is a lesson here, right? It’s about meeting adversity, and digging deep into the reservoir that’s created by community. It’s a success well worth mentioning since climate change forecasts include perfectly lousy weather and natural disasters likely to have us wishing for a warm bath, but pushing us instead to ban together and to respond as best we can. And, THIS, I think offers insight to my mood following the ride.
Did we, as Climate Riders, accomplish our mission? We did! Do you know that of the 325 of you on this list, more than 100 of you gave money to my Climate Ride? A 30% response!!! And together, we raised $6500 of the nearly $300,000 received for this year’s Climate Ride beneficiaries. Thank you so, SO much. Your generosity has been incredible.
Was our activism successful? I don’t have an answer because I’m now seeing, it’s the WRONG question. JuanRamonJimenez‘s words above describe perfectly how I feel about “activism” in today’s world. Like you, I like my life to flow easefully along with humor, beauty and love. Death, heartache, and fear are messy and inconvenient. Riding every mapped mile of the Climate Ride did not bring an end to the grief I feel toward what could be a future none of us would wish for, nor did it immediately change the decisions made by CEOs and political leaders around the world. But this doesn’t mean that “nothing happened.”
Cycling through the hush of the redwood groves, riding high above the white caps hitting the jagged rocks below, attempting to mimic those incredible pelicans in flight, I was reminded to soften (my grip), to relax (into the downhill), and to love (in the face of uncertainty). And, like it or not, you were all there with me!
Last Thursday morning, preparing to ride our final 40 miles into San Francisco, the rain showers grew louder and louder upon the make-shift meal tent. One of our pack reveled fervently, “Harder! HARDER!!!!” And the rest of us, heads thrown back, joined-in, howling hearty invitations to the pouring skies. In the face of life’s inevitable hurts, inconveniences and uncertainties, a practice of “inviting in” might be the best plan there is. Did nothing happen? Did everything happen? I’ll let you decide. Thank you, all, for taking this Climate Ride with me, and for showing me, again, this ever-anew life.