Grieving and Other Trail Droppings

  • Jewel Kilcher on the end of a relationship: “You grieve the loss of the fantasy you had about the person.” 
  • When a friendship has lapsed and you run into the person, you might say “I miss you.” You don’t miss them. You miss what you thought they were bringing to your little life party. You thought they were bringing chocolate chip cookies but after a bite or two you realized they brought ginger snaps. It’s as if Mama Gump had a cookie jar.
  • A cute little house sat at the eastern end of the stone bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail. It was built at a time when its little neighborhood was a summer escape from the heat of the city. It still had a screened in porch. It was torn down this week. I wish I had a picture of it. I grieve its loss. They’ll probably replace it with yet another oversized Arts and Crafts house.


  • I hate it when people take down trees so they can build a house that’s twice as big as they could possibly need. Or seeing Steven Spielberg suburbs, miles and miles of curvy roads and houses in three or four cookie cutter styles. Little gravestones in a cemetery of soulless suburban sprawl.
  • For years I have wondered what goes through your mind when you are about to get seriously injured or die. Now I know. Your brain becomes hyperfocused. It processes a stupifying amount of information.  Yet (at least for me) the intensity is accompanied by a calmness:

Okay, then. This is it. Gonna hurt a lot. I’m still upright. Gonna get run over. No. The car stopped. I’m falling. No, I don’t accept that. Let’s get upright. Stuck the landing with the rubber side down. Dang.

  • Now I get Steve Jobs last words: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” I also get the “out of body” concept. I felt like an observer and a participant.
  • I think it’s a shame that Johns Hopkins has discontinued a study of how marijuana can help with PTSD. Marijuana can have powerful neurological effects. Smoke a joint then try to resist a bag of Cheetos. Just try.  Then you eat them all, wake up the next day, and feel shame.
  • So I ride to work. I lean my bike against the rack. The bike falls over and gashes my right shin. There was blood. Damned bike did more damage than the SUV that hit me.
  • I used to buy multiple copies of the brand of running shoes I liked. I few years ago I bought 2 pair of Shimano biking shoes because they are wide and fit well. Today I bought a third pair just in case they stop making them.
  • I also bought a pair of platform pedals. I am giving up on clipless pedals….again. Toe cages and platforms are how I roll.
  • I saw Grace for the first time during our commutes today. She rides in the opposite direction. She didn’t notice me. She was too busy smiling. It was really nice out this evening. I felt the same way.

5 thoughts on “Grieving and Other Trail Droppings

  1. Like a chain smoker trying to quit , I have slowly weaned myself from full clipless speedplays to Shimano half platform half SPD, to clips & straps and finally just MKS sneaker platform pedals on the old Schwinn touring bike I am building up.

  2. I googled flat pedals, but all the websites I found assume you understand how they work. Do they need special shoes? I use the “cage type” and am scared of anything further that would delay me getting off my bike instantly since 1) I am short and can’t straddle easily and 2) I have fallen more than I like to admit. I love to bike, primarily on rail trails, and am 66 years old, so my balance is not improving! Thanks for any links or info. I love your blog, I used to work in DC.

    1. Platform or flat pedals are the kind that used to be on every bike sold to kids. They are typically put on the bike using a pedal wrench. There’s a bit of a trick but every bike shop mechanic knows it.

      You don’t need any special shoes. If you use cages, closed toe shoes are needed.

      If you have balance problems you should look into trikes. Recumbent trikes come in two configurations: (1) two wheels in front and one in back is called tadpole (2) two wheels in back and one in front is called delta. Delta trikes are easier to get on and off of but tadpole trikes feel like you are riding a gocart.

      Thanks for the kind words about my blog.

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