Monday, April 3, 2017

I've been silent for almost a year...

Man alive, this web-log has been all but repossessed by, out of commision for nearly a year.  And it's not because I've not wanted to blog anything, but more because I didn't feel like I had much to say.  But, things are starting to rattle around in my puny brain, so let's blow the cobwebs out of the corners, dust off the screen and do this.

My last post, nearly a year ago, was really focused on our battle, as a family, with the Boy's cancer.  There will still be some of that in this post, but it won't be solely focused on it.  The Boy is nearly a year out of his treatments and is still cancer free, so about the only thing I can say about it is thank you to all the people that supported him and us (and continue to do so) during this time.
Pictures of the boy taken exactly one year apart.
It's partially because of this support, along with other factors surrounding his cancer, that I haven't been on here in nearly a year.  Lemme 'splain.  See, I get my stupid ideas for my blog when I'm out on long rides, and I hadn't been out doing that.  Part of it is because of us trying to figure out new priorities with our family and after a year of being apart, not wanting to be away from each other for long periods of time.  But the other part of it is because of how my stupid brain works.  I feel like I had to "make up" for being away from work so much in the last year.  I know my co-workers didn't resent me for what we had to do, but I also didn't feel like I could and/or should take time off after being around only 1/3 of the time in the previous 10 months.  I felt like I had make amends.

This last week that all changed though.  I was able to get out on a solo 50 mile pavement/gravel ride, my longest ride since the day after we found out the Boy had cancer almost 2 years ago, and it sure kicked my brain into overdrive.  It was like there was a year's worth of garbage needing to be purged, it came spewing out all at once.  I had to try and focus on just one part of all of what was gushing out.  And here it is...the most political post ever on this site.

A beautiful shot heading back into the Black Hills.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that my political leanings are fairly well to the left, but I also tend to keep quiet about this most of the time for a couple reasons.  One, I live in a blood-red state where finding another liberal person is like finding a unicorn, so unless you want to get into a fight with someone, it is best to keep most of your political opinions to yourself.   Which leads me to number two, politics, like religion, are and should be a very private thing.  I never deny my feelings on a subject when asked about it, but I don't go out shouting my feelings to any and everyone that will listen.

What the hell does this have to do with bikes you might ask?  A lot it turns out.  On my ride the other day, I rode out to the gravel roads north and east of the NSS HQ into the rolling prairie/farm/ranch land past the foothills of the Black Hills.  I love riding out in places like this.  It feels like taking a time-machine back to a simpler time.  As I rolled along, an occasional farm truck would drive by.  Here's this big, bearded guy in spandex, riding a bright orange bike, and every single one of them slowed down, moved over and waved.  They respected me as a person even as I invaded their "territory".  I also knew that if I needed any help out there, I could have walked up to just about any one of those farmhouses, knocked on the door and been greeted like an old neighbor and helped.  And most of these people would do the same for just about anyone else in the same position.

I could make a fairly safe wager that most (yes, most, not all) of these people voted far right in this last election.  But therein lies the rub with the political climate in this country right now.  We are all so fucking eager to label the "other side" with being gun-toting rednecks Trump supporters or free-loading, good for nothing socialist liberals that we don't take the time to realize that a great majority of people we know are not gun-toting rednecks or free-loading liberals, but just solid people that believe a certain thing and that having someone on the other side yelling at you that you're wrong will never, in a million years, change your mind.

My point of all of this is, get out there on your bike.  Explore places that make you feel "uncomfortable".  Say hi to someone that doesn't look like you.  Stop and have a conversation with a person that doesn't believe the same things you do.  You'll feel a lot better because you're riding your bike and you might just learn that the person on the other side wants almost the exact same things you do.  Make a good, honest living, provide for their family, and have a little fun along the way.  And that is how we'll make America greater.