“I really don’t want to rush the next 19 days. I’m never going to get this chance again.”
When I uttered these words mid climb to John Defig, I’m pretty sure he was thinking I was suffering from heat stroke. Lord knows it was hot enough, as we pedaled from steep hill to plunging dale, slowly working our way to Eminence, Missouri.
Or maybe John thought I was suffering from a lack of nutrition; the dreaded bonk. It too was a reasonable assumption, given our work load and the long distances between food stops.
But if wasn’t heat stroke. And I wasn’t bonking. We were just getting to the point in our journey where the end was a lot closer to us than the start.
We had been getting our real first taste of home the last two days as we rode out of the prairie landscape and in to the Ozarks. The foliage turned to oak, the grades and farmland taking on the look of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway. It was Terra cognita, and it brought with it a sense of looming completion.
So I explained to John. “Will these boys ever be as carefree as they are right now?” It’s pretty idyllic time, the summer prior to your Junior year in high school. And what a way to spend it.
And for all of us on this crew, will we ever get to have another adventure this grand, with this sense of charitable purpose combined with the influence of youthful glee?
Or to use Sophie’s words, will we ever get to live this Loud, and experience as much grace as we’ve received? Will we ever explode with as much fearless light?
So despite those 4:45AM alarms and the daily challenges that are sure to come, it’s my commitment to see we enjoy each moment during the final push home. Let’s just soak it all up these next few weeks. For me, I know I won’t be coming this way anytime soon. Not in this loud way.