Monday, September 24, 2012

Digging Deep

Zipping along the coastal road,
Bodega Bay on my left and
pastureland on my right, I
inhaled the cold sea air 
and reflected,

How did I get here?

18 months earlier, clinking
glasses in a toast at dinner
with my husband's oldest
friend ~ his Archie ~ and
Archie's wife, Jane, we all
contemplated the best way
to celebrate milestone
anniversaries and milestone
birthdays coming up in the
next year for all of us.

A plan was born:  a cycling
trip to honor love, friendship
and the blessing of 
good health.

We chose September, 
when our kids {six between us}
would be back in school, and
California Wine Country,
where Indian summer 
would be at its peak.

And so here I was, legs
and heart pumping as I
savored the valleys and
worked hard to scale 
the hills.

On this particular day ~ 
the second out of six on
our Backroads adventure ~
I physically found myself
tested like never before.

Halfway up a very steep
incline, my gears as low as
they could go, literally 
inching along, a feeling of
panic descended upon me.

I am going to fall over 
before I have time to unclip 
my shoes from the pedals!

What happened next?

I took a deliberate 
breath and


securing my balance 
and ultimately, 
the hill.

I thought back to 
that moment
so many times the rest 
of the week.

The moment of panic.
The moment of true grit.
The wave of relief.

I did it!

This is part of
being alive, 
my friends.

The queasy feeling 
before a big speech.

The grief when leading a
beloved pet into the vet's
office for the final goodbye.

The fear of giving birth.

I can't do this.
I have to do this.

The digging down.

The flood of relief, of 
calm, of peace that 
comes afterward.

I learned a lot on 
this expedition:

Look left and right,
not just forward, or
you'll miss the view.

Don't stop on a hill,
or it's very tricky 
to get started again.

There are so many
good, good people in
this world, all with their
own tales to be honored
and celebrated.

{I met 26 of them
last week.}

We are each heroes of
our own story, as we dig
down deep and meet
the challenges in this
grandest adventure 
of them all.




Susan T said...

Fantastic post and wonderful - amazing photos Suzanne. It sounds as if you are having the time of your life.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

FANTASTIC. I cannot tell you how much this means to me. I AM LOVING MY LIFE, at 54. Many people are not fortunate enough YET to savor growing is a gift, to say the least. It is an honor to have a SOUL, wrapped up in this body of limits, that is waiting to explode and soar.

Ruben and I are hoping to go to Paris to start an ON FOOT expedition along the PILGRIMAGE route to Santiago Spain. Are you familiar with this pilgrimage?

What spectacular photos dearest. I suspect you took them? Ruben just bought me a Canon, but the model escapes me...but it is a good one. It sure would be fun if I could FIGURE OUT how to find your house and you can show me some tricks on my new camera.


Olive Cooper said...

Dear Suzanne, as I have been following you on this incredible journey I knew you would have an incredible blog post to celebrate it. No sitting around for you guys. I am going to share your post with my BIl who is a devoted cyclist. hugs, olive

Katherine said...

Great post (again)! I've enjoyed following your adventure via Instagram, what a fabulous experience you've had.


Wow, wow, wow ... very impressive. You rock.


Jenny Short said...

Good for you, digging down deep. I fell off my bike here in Holland and almost ended up in a ditch full of water and ducks. I was 65 and hadn't ridden a bike in 30 years. You have to keep in practice. Your photos are gorgeous. Glad you and your friends had such a special time together. xo Jenny

Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

Wonderful thoughts, Suzanne.
I have a big milestone looming, and I've been digging deep a lot lately as this date approaches.

Thank you for always being such an encouragement!


lisaroyhandbags said...

Great post Suzanne! Way to get out there and celebrate living! xo

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Beautiful, Suzanne...such lovely photos...and as always, a wonderfully thought-provoking post! Can't wait to get together soon and hear all about it!

pretty pink tulips said...

Once again you inspire me and lift my spirits. I love how you, your husband and friends decided to celebrate life. I've heard wonderful things about the Backroads tours and hope to do one someday. You picked a gorgeous place to balance the push required to get around with the stunning vistas and what I hope were relaxing evenings.

Good for you!!!! Digging deep and making lasting memories. Living!!!!

xoxo Elizabeth

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

I do love your metaphors for life Suzanne - and what a brilliant way to celebrate, with friends and some great times together. The photos say it all! Have fun! xx

pollydove said...

I LOVE this post my friend! Gorgeous photos ... sure makes me want to go duplicate your journey! Wonderful message too. It does feel good to have dug down deep, and overcome - even when you don't know how you found the strength! xoxo

Lisa at Shine Your Light said...

What a memorable way to celebrate life, love and friendships. You inspire me, the way you get out there and LIVE and make the most of every day. Whether it's about taking a walk, or going to a workout class, or going on a fabulous trip with your husband and friends, I ADORE how you seize the day, my lovely friend!!!

Sylvia said...

PERFECT! I get what you are seeing and there is no better way of writing such an incredible experience!!! Right now, I want to give you a hug and say: BRAVO, Suzanne! The joy of being alive belongs to the essence of life. Blessed are they who know how to celebrate love, friendship and life. Thanks to you ( and to instagram) for allowing me to follow your special trip. Fantastic photos!

Jo said...

What an amazing trip and experience ~ way to go living and loving life!


Low Tide High Style said...

Beautiful images and even more beautiful words. So glad you had such a wonderful trip!


Cindy said...

This is a beautiful,BEAUTIFUL post!
So inspirational. I don't have a physcial challendge coming up, but an emotional, nerve testing challendge coming up and this post has brought me peace. I need to heed your advice and just dig deep and breathe! I will look to each side and enjoy the ride...
Thanks for the lovely always..

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

What a blessing you have in your friends and your ability to partake in this adventure! I'm so jealous:) You are so right, we often put blinders on and only look forward when we should be savoring the entire view. I have a very challenging year coming up and I'll have to remember your words. It won't be easy but, alas, that's LIFE.

Shelly W. said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful photos. Beautiful you!

I will be thinking about this one for a long time. Thanks!

Leslie said...

Good for YOU Suzanne! .. feels great to push your body doesn't it? They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and that sounds like what happened :) What a wonderful accomplishment .. and the fact that you had so many important people around :) and family, made it all the more memorable!

Farmgirl Paints said...

It's all so beautiful and so true. Girl you just know what to say and how to say it. Glad you made it up that hill and can relive that amazing feeling.

Suzanne said...

What a beautiful place to celebrate. So happy you found such joy!

Tiffini said...

this is so God. I hadn't read this until now and after writing my post last night...I LOVE THIS!
can I keep it:)

We are each heroes of
our own story, as we dig
down deep and meet
the challenges in this
grandest adventure
of them all.


I do the same thing...make every part of life a lesson. I just can't help it. I heard your heart..I agree
love ya!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


What a wonderful adventure that you have been on, not only to celebrate with friends, but a celebration of your inner strength and resolve.

I love all of the photos and of course the encouragement and accompanying words.

Have a wonderful week and thank you for your encouraging words and lift to my spirits.

xox Elizabeth

Mary Timmers said...

Thanks, Suzanne for the profound words. We are all on the same road together, and no one promised it would be easy. Digging deep sometimes seems like the norm, but why live on the surface of life when there's so much to be mined down deep? Good reminder!

Lili said...

So beautifully expressed Suzanne! Another wonderful lesson for us and such breathtaking scenery! Bravo for you to conquer that hill. What a very special moment when you realized you did it!! I've been missing your beautiful words, it's been way too long since I've visited you here. I've got a lot of catching up to do! xo ~Lili

michele said...

gorgeous scenery, suzanne. way to keep seeing the life lessons in everything and pushing yourself for more.

i'll be hiking a canyon in the morning and will push with joy because it's a privilege to be healthy enough to push.

love to you.


A Vintage Chic said...

Perfectly beautiful, Suzanne...I love your posts. What a lovely way you chose to celebrate your friendship...we need to head up to that area again--only a couple of hours away from our home, but busy, busy life keeps us away more than I'd like!

Wishing you a lovely day, dear friend...


Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Well done, you!!!

I know it's the same activity (you'll be glad to know!!) but I felt this way when our little baby was born. I knew we wanted her to be our last so it was such a relief knowing all my labours were over!!


Bonnie said...

Suzanne, Your post is beautiful. The photographs...the sentiment. So often we are so intent on what lies in front we forget to enjoy the adventure. Again, lovely writing.

Palomasea said...

It is within us to find the strength, isn't it? What courage it takes...
Brava to you!
What a beautiful bouquet of memories you will have of this special trip.
Poignant poetry, as always. GORGEOUS shots.
Have a lovely week, dear Suzanne..
- Irina

patty said...

always such a positive story here... i've been exploring the idea of our "story", too... and then, am constantly overwhelmed by the things people overcome.

great reminder, too, to not stop on the hill... ;)

and i loved seeing your trip unfold on instagram!

Jeanie said...

You ARE the hero of your own story, and what a story it is! Bravo for digging deep and for the joy of succeeding!