As Per Perseverance

“Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile.”  ~ William James

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”  ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“We can speak and think only of what exists. And what exists is uncreated and imperishable for it is whole and unchanging and complete. It was not or nor shall be different since it is now, all at once, one and continuous.”  ~ Parmenides

There was a revelation/metaphor that came to me, nearly 40 years ago, as I was bicycling the backroads of eastern Mississippi. I must note that some of the small towns I saw out there were disturbingly entropic in appearance. Just an observation. The revelation is the key point here. I was passing through an unpopulated area. It looked like it might rain. I had no support vehicle, no traveling companion. Soooo . . . what was I to do if I needed help? That was the revelation. There was no helicopter or van to come to my aid. So, what to do, hmmmm? Keep pedaling, dude. Keep pedaling. You pretty much have to keep pedaling. Now, here is the fun part. Through the years that revelation did not age. It was friggin stuck. Revelations need to evolve with time. This one sat there like a lump, for decades. And then this morning it occurred to me, out of the blue and out of left field, that the lesson I learned that day was simple perseverance. The I Ching said that “perseverance furthers”. It doesn’t have to be a bicycle. You could be trying to get a text out from some place where your phone is getting crappy service. Keep on trying. Unless the text is “What are you doing?”, in which case I suggest that you save it for later. No, I am no fan of texting. Let’s not have me get snarky here. Iconoclasm seems to be congenital for me. Anyway, two days after that revelation I had my best performance of the long-distance tour: 100 miles, from Tupelo to Memphis, along the Elvis Presley Memorial Highway, in five hours. I planned on crossing the Mississippi River, on into Arkansas. As the highway goes on into Memphis you have to get onto the Interstate, there in the tangle of ramps and highway and stuff. As I was climbing an uphill, in the company of countless speeding cars, I heard from behind what sounded like a big pick-em-up truck flooring it, pedal to the metal. Instinctually I looked back over my left shoulder. My ears had not failed me. He was headed catty-corner across 3-4 lanes of late-afternoon traffic, headed right at me. I’m sure it was just some redneck having some fun at my expense. He crossed over the white line, where I had been riding, but I had perceived his intent and maneuvered to avoid contact. Then he was gone and I was rattled to the core. Maybe he intended to kill me, a long-hair dude on a bicycle in the deep south? I stopped at the next motel I could find. It was a pretty seedy place. Suffice it to say, crossing over the river the next morning felt like the blessing that it was. Alas, my writing time is over. I’m late in feeding the cat, but it is -7º F and she is zonked out in her bed. But I must wake her because she is diabetic and the time of the feeding is important. Twelve hour intervals, don’tcha know. Chow, ciao, whatever. Happy New Year.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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