I had to stop. My camera slipped out of my hands at 40mph. Luckily, I was already slowing down, wanting to take a picture of the Andean mountain peaks. The clunk of my G11 echoes through my helmet as it crashes onto the asphalt. I turn my KLR around in time to watch a bus nearly miss it. I pick up the dented remains and parked my bike on the side of the road. I had wanted to stop, but being in a hurry to make the 280-mile day to Lima, I was trying to do to many things at once. I retrieve my other camera from a protected case and head out to the fields that so intrigued me. The morning had already been high with emotions, I walk out into the valley, with nothing around but silence. My knees gave way to touch the earth below, and there was nothing left to hold it back. I cried. Not a quiet cry, but a guttural sob, with tears like the clouds promised above. Today I hurt… not just the ache from riding so many days, but the way in which a heart weeps.
It had nothing to do with my camera. It had everything to do with the loved ones in my life. I am sorry for not being there during times of adversity. Over the past several years, I have found myself either working in distant places or riding a motorcycle in far off landscapes when my friends and family have encountered hardships. Most recently, I am not there for the passing of a dog, who was more like a member of the family than just a pet. But in the past, I have not been there to give comfort during difficulties of a miscarriage, support of recovery from breast cancer, lend a hand while healing from a car accident, offer assistance to those who have lost their employment, and soon to express the joy of a baby being born. I am not and have not been physically there.
As I pass these villages of multi-generational families living together and working together for the betterment of everyone around them, I am in awe and wonderment since that is so far from what I know. I learned to take care of myself at a young age. As a child, I was taught that your elders don’t always know or act the best. As a young adult, I was taught through a failed marriage that loved ones can hurt you. For many reasons and many years I have learned to survive alone. So, sometimes for lack of knowing what better to do with myself, I wander.
This is not an excuse for not being there for the friends and family I care so much about. It is just an explanation for why I have a hard time showing how much I do care. My connections with those I love are important, especially because it does not come often or easily. Unfortunately, I did not develop strong skills to walk beside them. For that I apologize. I am trying to learn otherwise.
This is part of my resolution to no longer be “lost.” To no longer wander alone even when I am surrounded by a world full of people.
So to my friends and family, accept my apologies for those times… Even though I am not there in person, know that my heart is.