To Burst Or To Evaporate…

Ups And Downs…

A half-dozen times a day I step back, amazed and in wonder of just how rich my life is. I’m so full of stoke I could burst. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing I didn’t exist, at least a few times per day.

If that statement seems harsh and inconsistent, forgive me. That’s just what it’s like inside my head — all day long. Life is amazing — until I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and depressed —most often due to external circumstances, then I wish I wasn’t.

In those tense moments when the shelf over the clothes dryer collapses at the worst possible time, when somebody’s ignorance or hatred surfaces when I’m least expecting it, or when depression or sadness make unscheduled appearances, wishing I didn’t exist is the fantasy that gets me through them.

In-between those moments though, my life is flippin’ glorious. Any middle ground between the two, in case you are wondering, is scarce.

Yesterday morning, while many were sleeping in, I was happy to the point of tears. I had ridden my bike 20+ miles on a crisp but promising Southern California morning. I rode past a 100-year-old bridge, alongside picturesque vineyards, and up a couple of breathtaking vistas. I saw avocado groves, citrus orchards, and miles of tomato fields. Between the distant rising sun and my front tire, a beautiful coyote appeared then vanished in an instant.

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I wasn’t just in awe of my surroundings though, I was stoked at my ability to ride my bike through them — up steep hills  to subsequently glide down in joy while most around me still slept. When I got off my bike, I felt a high that could compare to no drug. It was the sum of freedom, accomplishment, and beauty, all rolled into a tidy moment. Ushering each week in this way is a ritual I would have a hard time giving up.

After my ride, and as I was prepping for the rest of the day, a growing series of disturbances began to get the better of me. Scrolling through the headlines didn’t help. Then a slew of unexpected and urgent emails paralyzed me, if only for a moment.  People say the darndest things when they think they can get away with it.  That was just after another crown on one of my teeth broke — just before a client was to walk in.

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Ebbs and flows…

Despite that there was so much wonder in my morning, so much beauty, and so much stoke, there were also those frustrations, fears, insecurities, apprehensions, and those all-too-often unexpected circumstances. When the contemplating gets tough, the tough just want to disappear — not to die, but evaporatng into the clouds sure would be nice some days.

If I were to tally it all up, in earnest, my life falls much more on the glorious and exhilarating side, than it does on the side of wishing I didn’t exist —that’s why I’m still here.

And please, make the distinction between being suicidal and not wanting to exist. When I don’t want to exist, it’s because I’m involved in a circumstance, emotion, or some combination of those that I just want out of. Not existing, seems so easy.

Some might suggest there’s a mood disorder at work here or something deeper. Maybe. Perhaps it’s just the Gemini in me. I dunno .

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I love my life and many times a day I just want to burst with joy and shower the world with my stoke. But there are times when I just want to disappear. Perhaps knowing both of these each and every day is what makes me human, and in some strange way confirms my existence…. Jhciacb

If  you have not already, please scroll up and subscribe. Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP  button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there is this from Lonnie Mack.  Enjoy…

Roots Canal…

Jersey Boys…

In 1968 my father, a successful business man, plucked our family from our suburban New Jersey home and planted us in Colorado. He did this largely I believe, so my brother and I would not grow up to be dock workers, cops on the take, or apartment superintendents with a 3 donut a day habit, cigarettes rolled up in our shirtsleeves, and America: Love It Or Leave It bumper stickers on our Chevy Impalas. This was the single best decision my father ever made for his family.

Friends Can Be Bought…

Shortly after we settled in Colorado my father bought my brother and I bicycles from a little shop in our community. My brother’s was a green upright Columbia 5-speed cruiser. Mine was a black & white Columbia 5-speed, with a tandem seat, and a throttle shifter. It was like a rocket ship built for and 8 year old. That bike would become my horse, my best friend and my only means of escape until I outgrew it in favor of my brother’s hand me down.

My ticket to freedom as a child...

My ticket to freedom as a child…

Waiting Out Winter…

It was the long months of a largely non-biking winter which made me appreciate my bike so much when spring arrived each year. Since my mother worked mostly evenings as a nurse and my father traveled extensively, winters meant reading, eating, and watching reruns after school – a life lived mostly indoors. Summer meant freedom from that. We lived in an area in which everything that mattered was bike riding distance from home.

I would ride my bike to school in spring and fall. I would ride to the store to do errands for my mother if she asked, and I would ride it to visit friends of course. I would also ride to the community pool nearly every day in summer. When my parents were fighting, which was often, I would ride for hours just for the sake of thinking, imaging or to feel the freedom which came from the wind in my hair.

Livin’ The Highline…

A large portion of my bike riding youth was spent riding sections of the Highline Canal Trail which was traffic free, and offered easy access from our high altitude home to the rest of the community. The canal road, as we called it, efficiently linked our neighborhood with all the services we needed and beyond. As I got older and ventured further, I would learn that the canal road linked a good part of the southeast Denver area – I tested those boundaries well into my teens.

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Many of the best memories of my youth involved that black and white bike, and riding the canal road alone.

Faster Forward…

I am now nearly forty years removed from that childhood scene. I have been married, divorced, and helped raise a kid of my own. She rarely road her bike. A bike is less a priority to a child than it once was.  That makes me sad, but that is an essay for another day.

I have owned many bikes since my childhood.  I have ridden thousands of miles on trails, roads, and highways throughout the west. After a 15 year stint in Southern California, I returned to Colorado last month where biking is part of the culture – it’s in our green and white DNA.

My most recent bike, The Redhound, was stolen just days after I returned to Colorado. I was heartbroken. That bike has meant as much to me as my 5-speed Columbia ever did. More perhaps.

Stolen, or perhaps just reassigned...

Stolen, or perhaps just reassigned…

I immediately replaced my stolen bike with a very basic road bike because I have limited funds due to my move.  I just needed to get out there – ASAP.

A new friend...

A new friend…

Yesterday I broke in my new bike. I rode a good stretch of the trail that so well medicated my childhood. I was on the canal road for the first time in 38 years. If it sounds hokey to say I shed a tear or two as I reminisced, please forgive me. I passed the community center where I swam in my youth, and the cottonwood tree where my friends and I once launched ourselves into the canal from a tire swing. I rode to Bible Park, a place for pickup football, meeting freckle-faced girls, and later on for drinking beer after dark with my puffy armed friends.

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For a couple of hours yesterday, the 12-year old Roy and the Roy in his 50s got to hang out together – they made fast friends. Now that we’ve met, I hope we continue to see each other. Be well… rc

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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I hit the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there is this from Butch Hancock. Enjoy…