Gravel grinding…captured some remaining summer warmth too!

Hard to know what we can count on these days. What do we deem dependable? What element of risk are we willing to assume? Risk is ever present in all that we do. Nothing is certain or forever. The unpredictability of life shows up in ways we never imagined as is evidenced by the past many months. We are no longer simply playing slots but have instead sat down at the high rollers table where the cost of a hand has challenged even the best Vegas gambling house. However, there are calculated risks too…

Gravel is unpredictable compared to cycling on pavement. There certainly are ruts in every paved road and inherent risk even on the smooth paths we travel. The beauty of gravel is it provides the mental benefit of being off the beaten path. Time spent on my little gravel bike on a sunny 76-degree Friday was just what I wanted and needed. Even with a foretelling headwind from East Barnard gently letting me know that “it is coming.” I liked going up against the headwind as if I was taking on each dismal news story from the week that occupied every one of my brain neurons. One more brutally stressful week after the many before it has truly challenged my resolve.

After a Vermont moderately steep mile climb an impressive downhill was before me. I reminded myself to look ahead, try to identify any potential hazards, stay relaxed, easy on the brakes and corner wisely. Kind of how I walk through the Village of Woodstock these days in my effort to simply pick up my mail at the Post Office. As much as I tried to enjoy the downhill, I soon realized that I prefer to work. I was not interested in coasting. I am not interested in coasting in life so why would athletics be any different?  I am in it for the effort. The work.

Yes, I love to take in the Vermont landscape especially as the new Fall season is soon upon us. The many red barns looking just that much more majestic in the foliage glow of Autumn. There is honor and history in the structures that have fallen into disrepair…coasting. Not even remotely interested in gliding as I like to work as I like the work. I like my work. The challenge…

Dr. William A. Haseltine was an esteemed professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, and well known for his work with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and genomics. A pioneer in these areas actually. I was listening to him speak during an interview just the other day. While a scientist, he so humanly explained how we can best deal with the pandemic and the necessity of COVID testing across the board for all Americans and in each household. The cost of an at-home COVID test manufactured by an American company is fifty cents. Fifty cents for each at home test! Imagine the possibilities of saving and protecting so many American lives.

Paraphrasing Dr. Haseltine’s words with mine but the sentiment of his analogy hopefully reads true:

One person stands at the bottom of a mountain looking up and says, “I can’t climb that mountain!” Another person standing in the exact spot looks up and says, “I can climb that mountain. I have to climb that mountain despite any challenges as I must reach the summit.”

We can climb this mountain together. We have to reach the summit. We can’t coast nor can we glide, and we can’t be afraid of the work…

“When you hit a wall – of your own imagined limitations – just kick it in.” Sam Shepard

         Vote…only once please but VOTE November 3, 2020

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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