Gratitude is a feeling with many layers and intensities. I felt all kinds of gratitude, from the most simple and fleeting to the most profound, the kind where it’s overflowing.
Sheep Mountain, Yukon. At times there’s gratitude for the immensity of the mountains.
On a particularly difficult day, with the wind against me, difficult topography, rain and road signs that gave me a mileage that didn’t match the odometer of my watch or with the distances on the map. Even worse, everything indicated that the distances were farther than I’d thought.
I began to doubt everything, my odometer, the map, the signs on the road, myself…
At the end of the day, after 7 1/2 hours of pedaling against the wind and with a fine drizzle, I’d gone the distance where supposedly I should be at the place I was going to sleep that night. But no! The place never showed up and that wind wouldn’t stop!
I proposed: conquer that ascent and sleep at the top! What I’d planned wasn’t important. I was tired and hungry. A counter-wind sucks out energy and spirit. Enough!
At times there’s gratitude for being able to identify a plant here. Here’s Hedysarum boreale (common names in English: Northern Sweet Vetch or Wild Sweet-pea) beautiful but poisonous.
One morning in the Yukon, close to Destruction Bay…
I got to the top. It was 8pm. Still on my bike, I took a big swallow of water and looked around me, checking out where I’d be able to camp. I lifted my head and looked at the surroundings. From the top of the hill I admired the descent before me.
I’ve already said I love descents? I’m crazy about going downhill! I yell, I let go of the brakes, I let my hair fly, that’s what. I thought: I can end my day with a descent. This would be a good way to end this awful day.
At times gratitude when I feel I’m being watched…
…or when I find salad greens at the side of the road (in the photo wild asparagus).
The sun came from behind the clouds and for me this was a sign. I didn’t think twice: I went for it! Down, down, down I went. The wind was still against me but it was downhill and even if I had to pedal it was delicious!
5km (3m) of descent, I remembered Serra da Graciosa, in Paraná. What a beautiful descent! The forest, the smell, the humidity…
10km (6m) of descent, I remembered the descent on the street of my old house, going to work in the morning, that descent always made my heart beat harder and I always ended up smiling. At times even shaking a little because of the adrenalin and speed.
15km (9m) of descent, I remember getting to Tambaba beach, in Paraíba, on my birthday, the summer we rode the Northeast coast. The hot air, the smell of the sea, the people with me…
And in spite of myself I began to cry. From emotion. Pure gratitude. For the difficult day, for the hunger, for the ascent, for the cold, for the bike… for being here.
18km (11m) of descent and the city sign appeared. If it hadn’t been for the descent I wouldn’t have gotten here. I wiped the tears from my face. I fixed my crazy downhill hair and gave thanks for being where, when and how I wanted to be: at the end of a 23km long descent (14m).