Friday, September 17, 2010

don't give up

yesterday I rode my bike for the third time post lotoja, and I felt better than I did the day before, which had felt better than my previous, first-post-lotoja, ride. I think this is how it's supposed to work.
I cruised up emigration with a sweet little tailwind, and was just past ruth's diner and camp kostopulos when I saw a bike on the ground off to the right of the road and a cyclist walking across the road back toward it, a phone in their hand. as I drew closer I could see it was a woman, and it didn't appear she was in any distress. she had a slight smile on her face, and as I pulled up to her I asked if she needed anything.
"what?" she asked, pulling an earbud from her ear, turning her head to me with a smile.
"do you need anything?" I repeated, slowing to a crawl.
"oh, no, I was just riding up and I saw this caterpillar," she said joyfully, a slight accent blurring her consonants, "so I was taking a picture of it, it's so big, just working its way across the road."
at that I had to start circling, realizing this was too good to just pass by.
"I have a bunch of friends on facebook," she continued,"who are having a hard time, and I thought I'd send them this picture of the caterpillar going across the road, you know, don't give up, keep going!"
searching for this big beast, I circled again and low and behold, there I saw it, this hugely fuzzy bright yellow thing creeping across the chip seal. it must have been two inches long, and its fuzz must have stuck up about 3/8 of an inch: it was possibly the largest caterpillar I've ever seen.
and it was determined.
it just kept scrunching its way across the bumpy road surface, heading to greener pastures on the other side, I suppose.
and my cyclist friend was just tickled that she'd gotten a picture of it.
I wished her well, thanked her for pointing the critter out to me, and headed on up the hill.
thinking to myself, I don't want to check for a big yellow squish when I come back down the hill: please, let him make it to the other side.

it's terribly easy to get caught up in our own stuff, and it's also easy to think that everyone else is handling life better than we are. there are hundreds of millions of us here in the states alone, all with our own stories and aches and pains and challenges. I'm certain a large portion of us suffer through that I want to give up feeling weekly, if not even more often.
this little yellow fuzzy caterpillar gave me an opportunity to check my own reality (pretty darn good) and increase my empathy for those who are struggling.
I'd say that between that, being photographed for distribution on the web, and making it across a busy road, that little yellow guy had a darn good day.
and part of his reward is that someday in the not-too-distant future, he will take flight and see the world from an entirely different perspective.

(ps: I think it was a Lophocampa maculata, which takes flight as a spotted tussock moth, for you curious readers out there.)

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