5. Port Ontario, New York to Orr’s Island, Maine
If heaven resembles the Swift House Inn
as haven for wayfaring bicycle souls,
then I’ll savor the dwindling stage
of my life. My final days are preordained,
set on where I’ll sleep each night, locked
in to how I will get there:
ride, rest, hydrate, eat,
pedal, shift, pedal, coast,
do it over, again
by lakes and mountains, pastures, forest,
field and farm to camps and inns
until at last the epic …
Should we speak of scenery?
How clouds nestle
wind the interior
of Adirondack Park
to moody lakes
lined with fir,
in the evening
How the intimate vistas of old Vermont
hold a tangible sweetness filling the air
with August heat and fresh-mown hay.
How the steep
ascent of Kancamagus,
up the slopes to Beaver Lake
unveils another most wonderful view
of my trip. But what of my journey, plunging
through memory and rumination, my summer
of moving meditation? How I passed through
the dreamland of Iroquois Nation carrying
my incarnations inside, from the awkward
silence of pre-teen me to the confident cyclist
crossing the land. I too am multitudes —
daughter, sister, mother, wife; student,
teacher, mentor, friend. Emerging
from this transient world into another
next new life, I’m the nervous girl
on her first day of school. Have I played
at being a vagabond? Or woman on a hero’s
quest (with credit cards and cozy home,
a life to which I could always return)?
but showing up, I cycled
a sixth of the earth.
The tide was up when I dipped a tire
into the cold of Casco Bay. Family
rejoined, my ride is done.
The world pours in.
First: The Mountain West