Monday, April 25, 2022

Biking in Puglia: Day 1

“Farewell sorrow, praise God the open door,

I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.”  - The Incredible String Band


“An enticing beginning” my motto in music and life and it certainly was. Eight of us mounted our electric and acoustic bicycles  and though two blocks from the start, my water cage had already fallen off and broke, once we got out of the town of Trani and started riding through the flowering  fields of the Puglia countryside, my heart was already opening. I started spontaneously singing the song above from my college years and all the moments when I felt the unfettered, unbridled freedom of walking (or riding) on the open road converged. So many past selves united in the remembrance of moments when the clock stops and the self drops away. 


The 9-year old walking the dappled path around Lake Minnewaska in the Catskills. The 18-year old skipping class at Antioch College to wander through the Glen and out into the southern Ohio farmland. The 22-year old walking a dusty lane past Queen Anne’s lace in southern France, on the way to hitchhiking to Spain. The 36-year old walking the morning dirt paths in Bali on my birthday, past the barking dogs with the gamelan ringing in the distance. The 45-year old returned to the path around the fire circle at Mt. Baldy  Zen Center, circumambulating with other black-robed beings beating time with the sound of our flip-flops. The 52-year old walking or riding my bike every day for six weeks from Anif to the Orff Institut through the Hellbrun Castle Park, living precisely the life I was made for. The 60-year old taking seventeen San Francisco School students on his favorite Salzburg bike ride, past Anif, past von Karajan’s house, alongside the stream to the Sound of Music house and beyond. And finally, the 70-year old, grateful and amazed that he cannot only ride some 25 to 40 miles a day, but that his heart can still be broken wide open in the most glorious of ways, that he can happily shed all his carefully-crafted identities without a moment of regret. 


Well aware that such grace comes seldomly, no expectations for eight days of unbroken nirvana, but again, grateful that such a day as this can be. Some 25 miles from the city of Trani to an upscale farmhouse (Piele da Bagnoli), where a hearty dinner and more comraderie awaits. 


Tomorrow Day 2.

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