Thursday, June 20, 2013

Living Large

The Forneys near the start of their journey, in Oregon

My dear friends Dennis and Becky Forney have embarked on a three+ month, cross country bicycle trek, literally pedaling from Oregon to Delaware. Dennis blogs about their journey, the landscape they traverse and the colorful characters they meet, daily.  I am green with envy (when I am not green with nausea, at the recounting of the steeeeep climbs and narrrroooow roads and wicked weather they have faced thus far.) Unless I am reincarnated as Lance Armstrong, I am very unlikely to follow in their tire tracks. Even the thought of driving a car along their route is daunting to me in the extreme.  But there is a part of me that wishes I could be the adventurous Forneys, could attempt what they are attempting, could live large.

I live small. Small as in: I have a five block commute to work. When I’m not working, I’m writing from home. My travels are few and far between, and when I am out, I always seem to miss interviewing the Most Unforgettable Characters. My chance encounters tend towards perfunctory nods and smiles in grocery checkout lines, on the train. Why am I reluctant to engage? Lord knows my ace reporter Julie comes home with volumes to recount from her interesting conversations with strangers. All I know is I perpetually miss the scoop, and don’t take the time to really notice my surroundings either.

My friend Pat died Tuesday, way too young, after a heroic battle with cancer. This past weekend, I finally started to sort the huge chaotic bin-full of papers under my bed. There I found notes from, and the obituary of, another good friend, Kem, who lost her battle years ago, at age 52. Tomorrow is promised to no one. I know that.  So what am I waiting for?

OK then, what should I attempt? Among the bold and daring things I’ve tried over the years: a jungle canopy tour in Costa Rica (does staring up at the sky, teeth gritted, count as experiencing the thrill of the zip line?); snorkeling in Jamaica (note to self: perhaps a huge breakfast might NOT be the preferred prelude to a bumpy boat trip into Montego Bay);  a small-plane hop to Nantucket in very dense fog (according to Steve, I entertained the other passengers with audibly prayed  “Hail Marys” the entire way from Boston). So bold and daring hasn’t panned out very well for me so far.

But I am inspired to step it up a little, starting right now. I may never be Becky and Dennis, my action heroes. Not even close. But I can still have adventures, even if they’re small ones. I can try some new things this summer. Talk with some new people.  And even when I’m in my daily routine, I can try to be much, much more aware of the beauty of the world, of life itself.

Meanwhile, my thoughts and prayers will go with the Forneys as they ride on, across America. Traveling mercies, guys.

From Sea to Shining Sea: Dennis' blog

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