We spent a reflective ten days at Myakka River State Park near Sarasota, Florida the perfect spot to quietly mark the close of 2015, the one year anniversary of the start of pilgrimage to here, the road trip, and the uncovering of the blank canvas that is 2016.
It was just over one year ago, December 29, 2014, that we closed on the sale of our home in Keene, New Hampshire. With beginners’ eyes, on a sunny and very cold December 30, we headed out of town.
Our Ford Escape, a.k.a. Kody, was loaded to the roof and hatchback, we had locked our bikes on the roof, and hooked up our first trailer, Traveler. The overall feeling was one of exhilaration, with equal pinches of anticipation and disbelief and wonder at the prospect of actually beginning. We marked the New Year with friends in Victor, New York and on January 2, 2015, started the journey and the mystery of the pilgrimage.
While at Myakka, I re-discovered Ram Das who wrote that seeing all life with freshness means moving. His guru’s advice was to not stay in one place too long because even “water goes bad if it doesn’t keep moving”. This year has been about moving, literally to 56 different campgrounds, and criss-crossing the country, logging 32,000 miles. It was a year of moving from one “plan” to another when we decided to live, and not just camp, on the road. That meant trading in one trailer and tow vehicle for another at mid-year when we picked up our Airstream and new truck.
On another level, we moved to a new understanding of and gratitude for the present moment and the details of daily living that constantly call us to fall in love with the life we have been given. That belief stretched us in the rough spots, like Louisiana, where we were pulled to look at both the flat tires, floods and rain, and mosquitoes; and the gumbo, the music, and the history, without judgement or attachment. And it continued to stretch us as we navigated the dark waters of sadness that inevitably followed the joyful reunions with the family and friends we visited this first year.
We spent New Year’s Day on the beach at Siesta Key where the sand feels like talcum powder between your toes. On our bike ride that morning, the sky had the iridescence of a fresh water pearl, the mists rose over the prairie and we could almost imagine an ancient scene where mastadons and saber tooth cats roamed these lands millions of years ago. The night before we had watched Interstellar, so we were primed for the expanse of time and space. There is a line in the movie that captured this motion when the lead guy says, “we are explorers and pioneers, not caretakers” of this new world.
And we are coming to know more deeply that we are also explorers and pioneers of our pilgrimage to new worlds, both interior and along the highways of this country. This past year has melted through our fingers and we realize that 2016 will unfold as a series of present moments framed by the bookends of the first light of the new day and the quiet closing down of the evening light. In between, we will hold onto the beginner’s eye that keeps us seeing as clearly as we are able.
So as we continue to travel the interior and exterior highways of our pilgrimage, here is our New Year’s wish to all of you, from Interstellar. “Love is the one thing we are capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space”.
Peter and Liz started year two of their pilgrimage to here, at the Myakka River in Sarasota, before heading north to the Florida panhandle and then west once again, in their Airstream.