It really does work as a practice. Mother Nature threw almost every negative form of weather at us over both the trip down and back. Yesterday’s weather really topped all of it though. During the high winds, sleet, hail, snow and rain that accompanied us from Pennsylvania to Toronto, I would focus on the fact that I was with a strong rider who has the patience and strength to get us through the current weather cell in the safest way possible. That helped pass the most unpleasant seven hours I can recall in recent history. Pulling up home in Toronto to unload was an unbelievable relief. Gratitude.
Every day at that point when my body started fatiguing and my inside voice started complaining I would remind myself that I’m grateful for the winding, rural routes chosen for their picturesque landscape and quaint small towns. Taking the fastest route possible would not have brought me to Grafton, West Virginia where I learned that Anna Jarvis founded Mother’s Day; Athens, Georgia, one of the prettiest towns I’ve seen with its rows of red brick fraternity and sorority houses; Indiana, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Jimmy Stewart as well as being the world’s Christmas Tree Capital; Asheville, North Carolina, the “Key West of the mountains”. Gratitude.
And finally, as we sadly made our way out of Key West on Wednesday morning, I reflected on the people I had just met and hold such a great place in Tony’s heart. Who provided Tony with the same friendship, support and open homes when he was travelling three years ago and who happily welcome him back to their world every year. Who opened their homes to us to stay and welcomed me with hugs and friendship, making me feel like a part of a family I didn’t know I had. As I was hugging everyone and saying my thank yous and goodbyes I was really thanking them for so much more than I could possibly explain. Gratitude.