Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Missing Homer

Date: August 23
Mileage: 21.1
August mileage: 301.3
Temperature upon departure: 54

Another day, another ride, another road silt shower.

The air is saturated with rain so light it doesn’t fall, and mist so thick it doesn’t settle. Low-lying clouds roll down the mountainside like ragged curtains, ripped into powder-puff patches by the tree tops. Riding out Douglas Island on a day like today is like looking through a windshield with the defrost turned off - squinting at a ghost world masked in featureless gray. But in that otherworldly way, it’s beautiful.

Water spalshing up from the road hits my face, so I look forward until the mist stings my eyes. I close them for several seconds, open to check for road hazards and close my eyes again. The darkness feels oddly liberating, like diving underwater to suddenly find yourself breathless but weightless. I open my eyes for little gulps of light, but I savor the thrill of riding stretches of this remote road blind.

So it hits me as a little surprise when I round a bend and realize that I’ve emerged from the cloud cover. A slate of gray water stretches beyond the channel. And in the distance, actual distance, I see snow-covered peaks. I feel like I’m looking at the Kenai mountains across Kachemak Bay, the same sight that greeted me every morning for nearly a year. There’s a moment of blind confusion, and then the creeping realization that I am a long, long way from my comfort zone.

That was the first time that homesickness really hit me since I left Homer three weeks ago. That little bend along a waterlogged road was so eerily familiar that it reminded me how unknown everything is, how far I’ve really wandered, and how I'm really not going back. There's a time to embrace new adventure, and there's a time to mourn the world left behind. They're both rewarding in their own way.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Jill! If I ever get to Juneau, you'll have to show me around the cycling scene there...I'll bring my SCUBA gear! ::GRIN::

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  2. Wow! That's beautiful writing. I wish I could write like you Jill.

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  3. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Jill,
    If it was 54 during the daylight, how cold was it at night? Over here in Austin it is 103 in the day and 89 at night. The a/c unit runs nonstop all day being set at 80. $254 electric bill for july...
    Hope you can get an apartment. Your roughing it in a tent in the rain is really beyond me...
    I know what homesickness feels like... we moved to NC for 18 months and one day hiking up to the top of a mountain over there (I forget which one), we had the thought: Why are we here??? The next monday I submitted my letter of resignation and I was on my way back to Texas. We call it our GREAT ESCAPE (happened during the Thanksgiving week of 95).
    I received a fortune cookie with the saying: "He who has not tasted the bitter does not understand the sweet.".
    Hang in there,
    AMG from Texas

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  4. I miss Homer too. Simpson that is.

    I'm sorry. I'm a dumbass, I know.

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