Happy Birthday, Stefanie Renee!!
It's hard to believe after all the plotting and planning and organizing and training and trepidation and excitement and more plotting and planning and organizing we are hitting the road tomorrow. Today we patched up two holes on the roof of Maude (where some previous repair job had come loose when the winds across Kansas whipped up), got the oil changed in the car, bought a new small rectangular table and PopTarts and Advil and oatmeal and coffee and chewing gum at Target, went to four different stores to find a flag for the trailer we'll be towing the typewriters in, stopped to have a cold drink and French fries for Stef's birthday, ran a few more errands, FaceTimed the boys and my parents, and finally sat down for pizza and mango pineapple martinis and a sweet video chat with some amazing friends in California who are cheering us on and buoyed our spirits with their excitement.
It wasn't a glamorous day. Far from it. In the parking lot at our last stop tonight after nearly 11 hours of tedious tasks, I apologized to Stef for spending her birthday on a high-speed chase to get all of the last-minute stuff out of the way. She smiled and said, "I didn't expect a lot from today." But I did. Despite knowing what we had to accomplish before leaving tomorrow, I still expected something more exciting from the day than grocery shopping and hardware stores and a cardboard box of pizza.
And then Jerry told us to come outside because he had a present for Stef. So we filed out into the backyard where he had set up his telescope. He told Stef to lean down and look through the viewfinder. Saturn. With all her glorious rings in full view. The most amazing sight I've ever seen in the night sky. Marcus Aurelius said, Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars and see yourself running among them.
I think Jerry knew we needed the reminder.
It will be hard to get to sleep tonight. My head is full from the day's activities and tomorrow's itinerary and the little bits of details that I'm worried we're forgetting. I know, I know that all will be just fine, that we have what we need and we will make do if we don't, that help is all around us. I do not feel alone, and maybe that's part of why I'm lying here typing when I should be sleeping. This feeling of so many people gathering tonight with us, and in their own way, preparing for this adventure. Tonight I feel the gravity of the responsibility for carrying this trip forward, for holding up my end of the bargain, for committing my body and my heart and my mind and the wear-and-tear of all these things in service of this project. I feel joy, too, of course, but tucked inside of that - as it has been all along - is that leap of faith required for meeting a dream with action. The vulnerability of accepting that challenge. The way I already feel flayed open, good tears falling today as I realized what an undertaking this collaboration with Amy is, how much it matters for us to be in alignment as we ride and build and write. And the larger responsibility of showing up in the communities we visit, fulfilling the intentions and commitments we made months ago when we launched Type Rider II on Kickstarter. The accountability. The visibility. The transparency we are agreeing to as we wend our way eastward.
"If you ask me what I came into this life to do," Émile Zola (the French writer) said, "I will tell you: I came to live out loud."
It is no small thing, this living out loud. But I can't imagine any other way.
And away we go...