Friday, April 13, 2012


Celebrated American author and poet Mary Angelou once said, "I long as every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."  The idea of 'home' will undoubtedly elicit different reactions from different folks; I certainly have friends whose home life growing up was not a place of refuge or comfort.  I am thankful that when I think of home, and returning to the place of my youth, it is with a smile and fond memories.

I have heard it said that nostalgia is the condition of forgetting all bullshit about the past and remembering only the good times, and I am likely highly guilty of the offense.  However,  I still think that I grew up surrounded by folks who put kids before themselves,  in a time when a strong work ethic and honesty were valued more than money, in a place with a deep sense of history and pride.

The truth is that I am likely reminiscing mostly of the roof I grew up under, but in any case it doesn't detract from the fact that I love going home.  It is true that we tend to eat the same things we always have, and recycle old conversations long since worn out; but being surrounded by my family fills me with an inner ease and feeling of security and acceptance not found many other places in my life.  My brothers and sisters have become mothers and fathers, which I find more amusing each day as their children develop personality traits not so distant from their own. Reaching a point in life where I can look at my parents and remember them as parents to me at my age causes my respect for them to grow tenfold.   Imagining my life with three growing kids under the age of ten, a mortgage, and a young marriage is hard to wrap my head around.  They are amazing people.

These are just some of the thoughts among the many that rolled through my head as I pedaled thirty-five miles north through a warm spring headwind to spend Easter with my Family in Snohomish.  Many proponents of travel by bicycle often speak of the power the bike possesses to create social opportunities, community and understanding between individuals from all walks of life.  I agree wholehearted with the former assessment, but one of the most profound realizations I have had about traveling by human power is the opportunity it offers for reflection and self-contemplation.  Hours spent spinning in the saddle lends itself easily to a wandering mind, and more and more I like the place my head arrives at the end of my journey.  Just as Mary Angelou said, I  seek to be at 'home' wherever I find myself and just feel much closer to that ideal when I arrive at my destination on two wheels.

That's how I roll,


Grocery stores are open on Easter and grocers have to work on holidays; Jenny was pretty sad to miss the Easter Egg Hunt at Mom and Dad's house.  The Easter Bunny caught wind that she wasn't going to make it and that clever rascel stashed a bunch of plastic eggs stuffed with trinkets from around the house; what a swell guy!

I must say that I am proud of my organized map bin.  I have pretty much dialed in the Interurban Trail between Seattle and Everett, but not so confident that I leave the maps at home.

The last time that I rode the Interurban out of the city, this section from the King/Snohomish County line to 228th St SW was still uncompleted.  It is nice to see the bike infrastructure moving forward.

I majored in anthropology for a semester at WSU and while most people may see cans along the trail as trash, I see material culture that lends insight into the diet and recreational habits of the locals.  

You can spend lots of money on high-end performance bars, gels, and drinks...or you can mix together a few simple ingredients with a little love and save your money for beer.  I choose the later and my cookies are getting better and better!

The youngest and the oldest of the Alford clan.  Pretty good looking couple!

Trail Crew
Highlight of the day for me was hanging out with my nieces and nephews.  I find it really refreshing that chopping a trail through blackberries and stinging nettles was the preferred recreational endeavor of the day.  

Mom did and excellent job of hosting and fueled me up for the ride home.

Left to right:  Whitehorse Mountain, Mnt. Bullen, Three Fingers Mountain, Big Bear Mountain, Liberty Mountain.  All worthy and reasonable FDA projects.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Matt- I came over on the recommendation of Kent's Bike Blog at the A-Z Challenge. I like what I see here. I think I followed you under my other log in (accidentally ended up with 2 Google IDs and it's a royal pain.) If you want to visit me, I think you'd like best.