At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, September 15, 2014


I’m rather fond of traditions.  I believe they serve to ground us.  Sadly, as the years drift by, all too many traditions fade to memory.   I’ve little family left.  Holiday traditions that meant so much have shed their attendees one-by one.  My world is sadder as a consequence.

But I’ve established a new tradition.  One that means a great deal to me. 

Each summer (for three years running). I pack a few clothes, toss my bicycle on top, and drive to Toronto to spend time with my best friend, Vid, and his family.  Invariably, these sojourns come to be the highlights of my year.

Vid and I tend to “seize the day” when we join forces.  There’s fine dining (with ample libations), trips to the Stratford festival to take in a bit o’ the bard, concert experiences (Tedeschi Trucks Band and Pat Metheny), explorations in wine country along the Niagara Escarpment and much traipsing about Toronto to take in all the sights and experiences available. 

And there’s cycling.  Lots and lots of cycling.  Vid’s an urban cyclist par excellance. He’s been cycling his entire life.  Me?  I’m a tyro.  I began cycling four years ago.  Vid takes me to places I’ve never been.  Introduces me to challenges I’ve never faced.  Scares the bejeezus outta me more often than not.  What can I say?  I love the thrills.

Here’s another facet of this tradition: I injure myself each year.  Yeppers, the first year I bruised my ribs and fractured one.  The next year, I rode into a thorn bush and slashed myself bloody.  It became a standing joke.  Time spent with Vid was guaranteed to leave me bloody.

This year was no exception.

Three weeks ago, Vid introduced me to the Caledon Trail, a rails-to-trails conversion that traversed achingly beautiful terrain.  It was a glorious day...until I failed to notice I had run out of trail and, consequently, plunged into an abyss.  The fault was entirely my own.  What can I say?  I’m neither agile, nor adept.  Bit of a goofball klutz, actually.

I don’t remember what happened immediately after I realized I was gonna crash.  Vid filled me in on the details.  It appears I executed a perfect one-point landing...the point of impact being my face.  I was knocked unconscious.  My first memory upon awakening was Vid dabbing my wounds with a moistened bandanna.  I was lost in time and space.  Many hours later, I was still lost in time and space whilst being treated at a local emergency room. 

My face swelled horribly, covered in dirt and blood.  I didn’t feel much pain but was aware that my right eye was swelling shut and blood continued to drip from my chin.  My eyeglasses were destroyed and my lips were lacerated.  I was a zombie (and not a particularly attractive one at that).   .

I remained dazed for the next two weeks.

Here’s the thing:  I pondered long and hard about this mishap.   I knew it warranted some sort of analysis.  While I stumbled about in my dazed state, I realized I had little to say except to note it reinforced my notions of the beauty of friendship.

Heck, I already knew I was a klutz.  I knew I lacked fundamental skills.  What I had failed to appreciate was just how much I appreciated Vid.  I can’t imagine how I would have fared if Vid wasn’t present to shepherd me through a trying time.  His presence made all the difference in the world.

There’s a reason I titled this entry “Friendship.”  

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[Note: I considered adding a "Before" photo, but realized there wasn't all that much difference, 'cept my jersey was cleaner.  Sigh]

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