|Poster at Hatch restaurant|
Friday, November 11, 2011
Charley: Bicycle touring lends itself to the wandering side of our spirits. Sure, there are goals, but they are loose and malleable. Wandering infers a mindset that is more empty and open than one who is seeking. In another life we were seekers, seeking God, wisdom, success, money. You know, all that golden floss of youth, but somewhere along the way all of that kind stuff just fell into the background and we became more and more enthralled with this world that we are passing through with all it's beautiful, strange and interesting creatures.
Wandering allows a person to witness the world with more empathy, from the struggle of the ant heroically carrying off a piece of our picnic scraps to the emotion charged experience of wave after wave of hundreds of honking, squawking, talking geese landing on a darkly mirrored pond at dusk.
People tend to open up and tell you their story once they sense you are not out to judge them or use them. Like the itinerant worker who invited us to share his food and told us stories of his homeless, 1500-mile bicycle trip, his fascination with the bible, aliens and Edgar Casey and his positive experience with a highly tattooed ex-con who had spent more than half his life behind bars. In addition, the fellow at the Laundromat who explained that he was using retirement to explore the Caballo Mountains, looking for archeological sites. His biggest find was a giant carving of a skull and a radiating sun, probably of Aztec origin perhaps marking the entrance to a mine. As he shared his passion while meticulously folding his clothes, he came upon a George Strait T-shirt which he exclaimed, “I met George Strait! I shook his hand! We drove all the way to Houston to see him!” He went on to explain how his ‘better-half’ loves country music and bought seats in the front row but would never tell him how much she paid. To start off our trip, friends on the west side of El Paso, welcomed us into their home to start of our first night’s rest . In addition, this trip our wandering has lead us to a couple of doorsteps of Warm Showers hosts’ homes. We were welcomed in, fed (even though they don’t have to do that), and made to feel comfortable and at home. When we left the next morning we had made new friends.