But sometimes I find that the layers and layers of other people's needs and wants fog my perception such that I can't even feel, anymore, what might really please me. Life can be good enough, this way, but sometimes, as well, it can become rather flat. And sometimes, when flat day follows flat day . . . . My mother went that route, a few times, and occasionally went along it for some distance and considerable time. I usually manage to notice the Danger signs, and head back to a better-paved road. Figuring out what I really want to do, for myself, is one of the ways to do that.
I'm sure you've already guessed what a non-issue my choice turned out to be for that guy who stood at the front of a long aisle waiting for me to join him 43 years ago. He suggested he'd go for a quick paddle on his own while I did some writing, and he'd be back soon enough for our bike ride.
He was -- out and back within the hour, and then I had to add Part Two of my choice for pleasing myself -- I wanted to cycle on my own first. It's taken me a while to feel confident pedalling solo, all the steps of getting the bike out of the building, onto the street, feeling comfortable in traffic, finding the bike routes -- all those steps I wrote about back here (and in an earlier post here) steps in being more independent. In so many ways, during those busy years of juggling work and family, I allowed certain elements of independence to weaken, losing confidence in abilities I'd once taken for granted. Having forced myself to win that confidence back, I don't want to relinquish it in retirement, but there are numerous social forces at work that sometimes make a default position out of deferring, out of just letting him do it. But letting go of the anxiety of leading, of going solo, often means losing out on the exhilaration of having done something on my own. Maybe "exhilaration" is too strong a word. Maybe it's more just the simple pleasure of going at my own speed, of stopping to take photos of every silly little thing I want to capture
And I get that for many of you, all this is over-thinking. Some of you will even want/need to tell me that. Just do it, just get on with it. I understand your response, and I often wish I could do just that. But I suspect that would mean giving up some of the sensitivities that make my life richer in different ways, so I'll just say "Over-thinking'R'Us" -- and hey, it's my blog! ;-)
For now, though, since it's Friday afternoon, and the last summer weekend before Labour Day cranks up all the back-to-school-and-work machinery, I'll stop the over-thinking (which, honestly, isn't "over" to me -- it's just process, and it's okay!) to share some photos: the planting of honey-scented flowers bordering that bike path, the cheery flowers and bees and butterflies painted down the centre to invite the pollinators to the feast . . . and then the bee boxes tucked into the allotment gardens along the side. These bee boxes were the reason I'd wanted to pedal the route again (because I'd just written here about Paris bees and their hives; when I saw them the first time we biked the trail, Pater was a ways ahead and by the time I registered what I was seeing, it felt too late to bother stopping (although he's very patient and wouldn't have minded).
That evening, we went for dinner at a local restaurant, Les Faux Bourgeois, Too warm to get gussied-up, anniversary or no, and I stuck to my Birkenstocks but did slip on a simple silk frock (yes, the Equipment dress I wore for my daughter's casual wedding last spring -- hmm, I wonder if that dress is ever going to get mated with a dressy shoe!).