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A woman and her bicycle

(Disclosure: the gist of all the below happened… I am outpouring spontaneously so it’s gonna not be exact what was said) …

“Hello again “she said

As if a a forever friend

Her sparkling aqua eyes

Radiating joy and welcome not surprise

It’s you again and your dog

Oh what a site

You’ve suited him up

And his sweater is mighty fine…

I smiled and hugged her warm

We’ve met just once before

But a welcome hello like that

From one who’s journied for several decades before

Is something I never take for granted

And with women senior to me oh I could listen for hours and hours …

“May I walk with you?” I asked

And she said “I would love nothing more”

And we strolled down the sidewalk

And shared for the next two hours…

“What brings you here? She asked

And I responded “uhyou mean right now?

She smiled at my eyes and didn’t respond but I quickly added “time to take little berk for a walk “

And what kind of dog is he she asked

And I sounded out “beeeshon freee zay”

Because I wasn’t quite sure how much she heard and I wanted her to know what I was saying

And where are you from originally

She said then “tell me again?”

I said I was born and raised in Miami and she said “oh golly is it warm down there”

And with that I said “ohh you’ve been?”

I tend to squeal if someone has

Aside: you can’t describe s place like Miami you just must experience every bit of its flare

And she said “why yes I biked there… I led a biking tour

And with that I squealed some more …

I exclaimed WHEN?

And she said “it had to be around ‘54

And there are moments in our days when I feel like shedding all the minutiae

And I know none of it is futile

But oh it was one of those moments I wanted to listen for hours

I the. Became the questioner it just is always my way

If I’m standing in front of a beacon of HERSTORY I wanna have the world hear HER -SAY

I said “how did you learn to bike

She said well it’s what we Women did

She then went on to explain she had learned in New Jersey at the all women’s college she went to

And the story didn’t always connect the dots

But this woman spoke with led many a group bicycling and not just a few miles but LOTS

She said “heard of youth hostels “

And I said “why of course”

She said “that’s where we used to date they originated for bikers in Europe “

She said “long before I married I saw the world on a bike … “

then “they asked me to join their board they knew I loved biking and traveling alright “

And I can’t even begin to describe the lump in my throat at that moment

She was just this beacon of bygolly …stop at nothing and follow follow your heart

And while we are talking she is holding my arm and she is looking down at the sidewalk

And every few feet if she sees a branch she bends down and picks it up

“Gotta keep the walks clear you never know when a bike will come by”

Oh I just wanted to hug her all day

Her stories brought such tears of hope to my eye

And every time she finished a story

She would turn to me and say

“And what brings you here

And where are you from

And tell me again your dogs name”

We walked and walked and she shared many a story

Too many to poem here now

But in listening to her journey

I felt this angel of press on and LOVE the now

And stop at nothing to pursue a dream no matter what it looks like

She saw the world from two wheels and it was long before google earth or maps made it seem safe and alright

And when the conversation would drift back to those same questions

I didn’t act frustrated at all

And I didn’t dare say I’ve already answered

I simply treated them like I was being asked for the first time and as I did we climbed a hill

And she made it to the top faster than me and then she said “you must come on in now”

And where she lives are apartments now that was once a from for a school for the blind

And she graciously showed me their meeting room community library and then the stairs we climbed

And up at the top she led me into her home

Covered with framed photos of the world

And I looked st this woman and then back at the walls and it all just struck in me a deep chord

There are the walls were images of all the places she had ever biked

But when she biked then she didn’t have a camera so after she married she took her husband who did to every site

And I just had no words because I was staring at their love and her zest scouted in about 200 framed photos

And yet how can you capture the stories and all those experiences

She had on one wall the family

She had raised two daughters across the street

And I guess when the family decided it was time that homestead was sold and now these two are dwelling in this charming nest

And I guess I felt this ache like I could have asked her for hours how did you do it

How did you overcome all the resistance all the obstacles and all that you get the world didn’t appreciate about you

How does any woman

And yet even as I was going to ask some deeper questions

The answer was already in my heart… she broke down every seeming wall because her love was greater than any opposition

And as my eyes gazed at her violins (ps she played those for decades too)

She turned and looked at me with that loving twinkle and asked

“Now what brings you here

What is your dogs name

And what is it that you do?”

By now I’m sure my tears were quietly streaming down my face

And I said to her may I hug you

And she cane near and gave me a giant hug and even kissed my cheek

So why outpour all this on the first few moments of Wednesday

Because there are moments we need to turn away from the launches

A we need to honor those who’ve gone before and millions of trails blazed

I may never know how long she served on the board of the American youth hostels

And I may never know the risks she took and how she overcame fear flying across the atlantic in the forties

And I may never know what she encountered as she ventured across borders of so many countries

But this woman

On her bike

Was the press on angel

I deeply deeply deeply needed

Wherever this finds you

May we never shun a seasoned one

May we say hello and mean it

May we listen if they tell you a story

And if they ask over and over the same question

May we answer it…

She graduated a woman’s college the year my mom was born

She toured around Europe on a bike and stayed in youth hostels long before that was cool or a mobile norm

She raised two daughters nearby a college where her husband taught physics

And she then showed him all her fave sites now captured as framed photos on canvas

I could have stayed for hours

Tomorrow I will likely go by and check on her

Maybe it’s just me

But you cant clone or app Herstory or its vital significance

Days like today remind me of a deep need within

To be able to walk around the globe capturing Herstories in every land …

May we listen more

May we love so true

When the nudge comes to take a walk

May we do and seek out whom we can say hello to.

Deepest respect and love to each of you

It’s so hard to slow down and be present but there are gifts everywhere if listen and welcome them in our hearts we let.

Love love love

#myheart2yours

#spontaneous_poeming

#womanhoodwednesday

#ruthhawkins

#herstory

#neighbors

#heart2heart

#inaweofthosewhovegonebefore

#listeningwithlove

#bicycle

#youthhostels

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