"The Rest is Still Unwritten"
As I awaken, I can sense immediately that something is different, has shifted, although it takes me a moment before I remember that I'm in Halifax, at the end of the road, and that there will be no riding further east from here. My legs feel rested and eager to go, and it is strange, not needing to spring into action, getting a hustle on to get on the road. Today, we plan to go sea kayaking and see some of the local sights before embarking on the 17-some hour drive home, but for now, I enjoy the peaceful solitude and take some time to reflect on the journey that has reached its end.
I think about the simplicity of this time, with no appointments and meetings, no assignments and deadlines, an automated "I am away from my mail" response to e-mails, and my only real task being to pedal east for as long as I choose. I think about the simultaneous complexity, of staying focused on each day's goal, navigating through traffic, through cities, through exhaustion, dealing with whatever Mother Nature dished out, and staying healthy through it all. I think about the vastness of this great country, and about its varied and beautiful terrain: the mountains and valleys, prairies and rolling hills, lakes and rivers, wilderness and farmland, villages and cities, and about the people, who are the heart and soul of it all. As I stare at the ceiling of the tent, listening to the gentle rustle of the wind in the trees, I feel something that is hard to define. I feel Grateful and Blessed and Privileged to have had this opportunity. I feel disbelief, and a sense of unreality, that this has all really happened. I feel humble, and a private sense of accomplishment, exhilaration, empowerment, and joy. And yet I also feel a bit achy, and empty, and sad, to be leaving behind the adventure that has become my reality. Mostly, I feel happy and content. At peace. Satisfied with the knowledge that I will have these memories for all of my life.
I indulge in the warm softness of my down-filled sleeping bag a few moments more, before unzipping the tent and stepping out into the fresh, crisp air, salty from being so near to the ocean. I stand, and I stretch, from toes to fingertips, every muscle of the body with which I have become so attuned over the past 44 days. And I say, out loud, to no one in particular, "Hello, World. What's next?"