always stop for beauty

now accepting nominations for names

I’ve begun the new experience of biking in the city.

I bought my bike from a kind man off of Craigslist for $140, then spent about $100 at Fred Meyer (the Seattle equivalent of Wal-Mart) to make it and me rode ready: head light, tail light, batteries, helmet, U-Lock, waterproofing stuff for my backpack, and reflective stickers for my helmet. Since I mainly purchased it for my early morning commute to work on Saturdays and Sundays (since King Count Metro decided to change the bus system and now I have no other way of getting to work on time), I wanted to be able to be seen by the cars that happen to be moving at that hour.

Looking towards Magnolia from the Ballard Bridge around 5:15 AM on Saturday morning

and, of course I can’t do much physical activity without become what I fondly call a Sweaty Beast. This definitely limits when/where I will ride my bike as opposed to riding the bus and/or walking.

At least splotchy Sweaty Beast shows up for work on time (taken at 5:45ish AM)
Coworker (with concern): “Are you okay? You’re all red?”
Yes, Abby, I’m super.

I love how it feels to fly down hills, wind blowing in my face, hood of my jacket flapping in the wind. I have literally squealed with childlike joy a few times, especially coming down a fairly large and long hill from my apartment to… well, anywhere I go. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing parts of my city that I never would have seen from a bus or a car, and there have been several moments of screeching breaks so I can stop in time to take a picture of the sheer beauty surrounding me. It also helps that Seattle seems to be having an extended summer (sweet rain, please stay away just a *bit* longer…) which makes the new commute easier.

just riding my bike, wearing my KALE shirt, and living the life
#WhoHaveIBecome
(please pardon the finger that snuck into that shot)

I’ve been shocked and amazed, filled with gratitude at my body and what it is capable of if I just try. Home to work is 4.5 miles. I then think, “well, [this other place] is only 2 miles from work, so maybe I can bike there, too.”

AND THEN I DO IT.

a Rose Garden, my unnamed bike, and my shadow on the ride home from school today
(taken @ Myrtle Edwards Park on the Elliott Bay Bike Trail)

Sometimes I have to dismount and walk my bike up an extended incline, and I fight back the shame of failure with the simple thought of yes, I cannot do it now, but one day i will.

Defeat in this moment does not mean I am defeated.

yeah I wear fun socks
(taken @ Alki Beach Park)

I feel the work in my body, from my neck down to my feet. Yesterday I rode my bike to work, then from work I rode down to the ferry terminal. I took the water taxi over to West Seattle and bopped around Alki for a bit. Then rode to a club in West Seattle for a fundraiser. I took the bus home (all three of them that it took) and fell fast asleep, physically worn out like I haven’t been in a long time.

I woke today
achy in all my joints
&
sore in most of my muscles
and
it
felt
delicious
(except the pain in my vagina.
No one warns you about that
but I will because
I care, dammit.)

I’m falling in love with this city all over again. I had become complacent in my adoration of this place, these people, this journey I am on; the awe of the mountains and the ocean, all in one view? that’s just spectacular, but I had forgotten. This new adventure has helped me see the same place from a different point of view.

Alway stop for beauty. Always.

You will not regret pulling over to take the picture.
You will not regret the few minutes it took to have the conversation.
You will not regret following your heart.

Always, always, always stop for beauty.

May we all find new ways to discover the beauty surrounding us every day. 

Selah.

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