At three o’clock in the morning, I sat awake, doing research, attempting to discover which one of the 50,000 tree species might be causing my severe allergy symptoms.
Brushing up on the mesquite, the beech, the alder, and the cedar, I chose to believe it was the latter of which was crippling me, laying me out in a cold-sweat on John’s couch. Glancing in the mirror, I was possessing Frankensteins eyeballs, a ferret in my throat and ears that ached like an Olympic wrestlers’ that had been pummeled on the mat.
The only thing more compelling than one persons story about how they got where they are, is two peoples stories. John, a 24 year old living in Austin is a writer, penciling for Conscience Magazine, and another publication, Terasu. He’s also freelancing for several tech companies, composing their blogs and press releases.
The soft spoken and kind hearted, John, tells me while casually sipping his french pressed beans, seated on the backporch of his home, a few of his experiences in life. One adventure that we have in common is a long bike ride.
John had pedaled his cycle in the opposite direction, the same route that Shoeless and I are traveling, making his way from coast-to-coast. That was three years ago.
He had also made time to chronicle that odyssey, both of us agreeing that it takes more than twenty minutes to depict in writing the tales of our previous days adventures. I sat quietly for over three hours scratching out the seven hundred and seventy seven words that you’re reading right now.
Carl works at Fifth Street Pedal Pushers, an eclectic bike shop on the east side of town. His counter-parts had a glance at my Land Sleigh after I pushed it into their building. I had busted a third rear spoke, the wheel once again wobbling as I ride down the highway shoulders through the middle of Texas.
Carl pointed out the rear tires lining that was exposed where the rubber tread had worn thin. My chain, rear cassette, front sprockets, all of them as tired as I am. I disappeared around the corner for an extended lunch break while he and his team of wrenches poured extra love into my bike.
Sitting in a seat for 1700 miles with your arms stretched forward and your hands planted firmly on the grips can cause nerve damage. I’ve been experiencing some of this numbing, a painful sensation, since pedaling off of the pier in San Diego.
Carl made a lot of necessary adjustments, setting me up with comfortable grips, and changing the ergonomics slightly so that I would be less likely to further cause what could be permanent damage to my hands.
At the register, he saved me a bundle by discounting the parts and only billing me twenty dollars for the four hours he invested. Now my bike rides better than it ever did.
Amy is an Angel. I met her a few days ago in front of a cafe in Austin. She and her friend, another Amy, they sat with Shoeless and I out front asking questions about the journey we are on. Since then they both have continued to encourage me, prompting their friends to take interest and support the mission that Shoeless and I are on. I imagine they’re praying for us too.
Yesterday, she made an ‘anonymous’ contribution online that was over the top generous, causing tears when I read “$1000”. I couldn’t let her kindness be kept a secret as she had intended it to be. She’s humble and was deliberately seeking no credit, but I felt it was important to share her angelic deed with y’all.
Reflecting on all of the kindness my friends have shown, many whom I’ve never even met, I’m reminded of a story of A Widow’s Offerings; a woman who had placed two copper coins in the bin, worth only several cents, giving everything she had.
There’s a San Francisco singer-songwriter who I know through Facebook. We’ve followed each other’s stories for over a year. She has given to me more than once since I left home, ten dollars each month. I can’t help but to imagine that she is stretching her budget, making sacrifices to support us.
Planting myself at The White Horse, a locals tavern that features live music nightly, I dotted I’s and crossed T’s on a stack of postcards that I’ll drop in the mail to friends who’ve been providing for Jo and I. John meets me there, hosting me at his home for the night, guiding me back to his place.
Each one of these souls who come passing through my life, they’re Angels, leaving a mark on my heart, making all of these dreams come true.
The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. ~ George Elliot