We head south again this week. We will celebrate Christmas in Yankeetown, Florida. Life strums along at a unique pace in this part of the country. I could write all day and never give you an accurate picture. Places and gifts have much in common. Through both, you may offer happiness that is a resemblance to riding a bike. Come with me as I offer my view from my Huffy.
Shift My Soul
After our hellos and a quick bathroom break, I’ll roll up the garage door and lower my bike to the sand spurs and crushed shells. Her seemingly stiff kickstand will keep her waiting patiently next to the moss-covered windchime. I take the first of many deep breaths and begin to shift my soul. This is not easy. My mind and body have been on a fast ride for weeks and it takes hours and even days to downshift. My bike intentionally lingers outside…a subtle reminder not to miss the gift.
Culture Owns the Pace
If you try to move too quickly, this environment will pull you back, and slow you down. The culture owns the pace here and you find there is no denying it. It has taken me many years to understand this and many more to give in to its energy. There was a time when I did not enjoy this place. I found it slow, outdated, and dark. The fearful side of me would raise its ugly head and convince me that I did not belong. It often took the deep waters of the sea, the shady quiet streets, and the loving embrace of my father-in-law to gently show me that this is more living than my fast, updated, and bright life can ever offer. He would always say “Newton, go enjoy your life”.
One of my early visits here allowed me to experience darkness; I only thought I knew him. While the days are full of findings, the nights are darker than anywhere else we have traveled. I look forward to the darkness of Yankeetown. The sky is layered with stars. A stark difference from the single layer of pinpoints we see at home. Unless the moon is full, you can forget seeing your hand in front of your face. Our steps are hidden and require a flashlight. Our evenings look quite different as we find ourselves seeking the darkness. Riding a bike under the layered night sky will fill you with awe.
John’s mom found a blue Huffy beach cruiser at a yard sale and quietly tucked it away behind the boat. There is a love for secondhand treasures in her too. She has long been aware of the pace of this town. I guess she knew a bike was needed to show me the charm of this life. The blue bike sat for a few years before it caught my eye. On that visit, I rolled it out, cleaned the rust from its chrome, and measured it for new tires.
On my bike, I find the energy of this town. Fresh air flows and my mind clears. The fear of being alone or a gator jumping out of the swamp as I cross the low bridges has subsided. I can now laugh at the notion of that happening. My blue bike is where I long to be when life gets overwhelming. Life is discovered as I peer over the handlebars and freely choose to turn left, right, or just keep cruising straight ahead.
Riding My Bike
All of this has been rambling through my mind as I consider Christmas and gift-giving. One of my most memorable gifts was my pink Huffy from my mom and dad. None of us would have ever known that the hours I spent on that pink seat would be so rousing forty years later. She was the subject of my first blog post in 2021. I’ve chosen not to edit or update that post. It is where all of this began, and it sure reminds me that change is good. My Huffy fed my imagination and presented the freedom to explore without the world telling me how or where to ride.
Resemblance to Riding A Bike
I become overwhelmed this time of year but I’m learning not to underestimate the act of giving. By giving you may offer a glimpse of someone’s Yankeetown, a life full of living, or maybe a simple memory that offers friendship, encouragement, and inspiration to be who we’re created to be. So, for this busy, gift-giving season, I will strive to give the resemblance to riding a bike.