Twenty-nine years living with diabetes. Twenty-nine & Terra's Tao - I am a poetic diabetic. Insert lol emoji here.
Just as the more you attempt to put words to define Tao and what it embodies, that continues to be the best way to leave 2019 for my life.
Things built after they crumbled.
Perception defined perspective.
My essence continues to breathe, and for that, I sit every day in appreciation.
But here is a story to share...
A few years back, my family and I spent a week in a cabin on Priest Lake. A beautiful part of the world near the Canadian border in the Idaho Pandhandle. This winter, the landscape was deep in the snow all around. Even getting into the place took significant snow moving efforts.
One afternoon, after several days of sled-riding, everyone else was content sitting by the fireplace and getting cozy. Some were cooking, some were watching TV, and some were napping. I decided to take the sled out and go for a solo excursion. I layered up; boots, helmet, gloves, check. I lifted the choke and pulled the cord to start. The engine was still warm from our morning ride, so starting was easy-peasy.
I wiped off the new snow from the Arctic Cat seat, lifted the front skis to break them free from the snow and ice underneath, and turned them slightly to the right. I parked close to my Dad on our earlier ride. He was inside watching tennis or golf (are both those televised year-round?).
I jumped on, and my thumb gave it a go. I was off. It was a short distance to some groomed trails. Those were fun until they weren't, and then I wanted more thrill. I explored a little through the trees and eventually popped out onto a logging road. Due to recent storms, there was 100% snow coverage in the trees and on the streets. It was possible to go in every direction, and logging roads were a win!
I oriented the sled heading north and started on the road. I enjoy this feeling, being on a machine, and with the push of a little lever, I can feel at the edge of risk. I kept on. The experience was meditative, alone in nature, the engine roaring, my body protected from wind and weather, peaceful behind the face shield. At one point, I looked at the speed, and I was going 85 MPH. I lifted my thumb. I looked around. Nobody. I pushed my thumb back into the throttle. With all the light and open space and clear path ahead, I added speed. At some point, the road bend appeared, and I decided to slow. I jumped off the road and cut back through the trails for the rest of my afternoon ride.
I grew up riding snowmobiles with my family. I thought everyone did this. I knew no different. I have memories of my parents in their snowmobiling suits. If only I had some of their get-ups for Halloween costumes! We had a variety of helmets at the family lake cabin for motorcycle riding. In the winter, you sized up to make room for the beanie and snapped on your face shield. With dozens of extended family into the sport, you rarely owned outfits with all ages of kids. In Grandma's plastic enclosed winter lake cabin porch, she had boxes lined up. Each one contained different layers; wool sweaters, snowmobiling suits, wool socks, snow boots, ice skates, scarfs. It was like assembling a Chipotle order; you knew your options and selected what you wanted. Outside, the sleds lined up on the frozen lake.
I recall much of our sled-riding being in the dark. Probably because sunset was in the late afternoon during winter months, and many of our rides went for hours. With other sleds on the single-track trails, I felt safer riding in the dark. The headlights made it apparent when a snowmobile was coming on the path in the other direction in the night. You only heard them over your machine when stopped. With that awareness, I could get ready to throw my weight into where I needed to make the turn and not be concerned about a machine coming from the other direction. There is that moment in snowmobiling it 100% feels counterintuitive to add speed to navigate the terrain. There are uncertainties, and speed seems to imply increased risk. The moment you do what you think gives you control, you brake, and rather quickly, you lose what you were optimizing for - making the corner.
As an adult, especially a mid-life adult, I recognize how much these early life experiences have informed me in my life.
Be aware but don't forget to accelerate and play!
Photo: Terra is trapezing. Yes that rhymes.