Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No Coincidence at 16,000 Miles

Let me begin by saying that it was about fourteen years ago when I reversed my thinking about coincidences of the good sort.  Until then I'd believed that uncanny occurrences were simply the operation of mere chance, but it was in in 2002 when I saw unfold a number of unrelated events that came together to cause a transition in my life that could have been catastrophic but instead became glorious.

It was two years ago when again, a number of circumstances and events happened nearly concurrently in just the right order to enable me to be in a place where I was needed, but where I'd never have been able to be had not the events that coincided happened as they did.

I was a philosophy major in college and at that point in my life I enjoyed a good philosophical argument of just about any sort, but where I am now, I'm not out to win any battles or change any minds.  I know what I believe and will continue to believe it despite the protestations of those who might want to draw me into battles of words for which there are no endings nor winnings.

When I set out on my ride this morning to my cousin's dental office in Tunkhannock, it was without consciousness of my odometer's reading being under 100 miles below another 1,000 mile milestone, although sometime last week I had noticed that.  After my appointment I took the long way home along back roads and byways, deciding at various junctures which way I'd go without a plan in mind at all.  I was back in Kingston, in the hustle and bustle of city driving when I remembered that another milestone had been near last week.  I glanced at the odometer at that point and was stunned.  There was the 16,000 mile mark, including a zero in the tenths place!

You can call it mere chance, some subconscious mental operation, or whatever you'd like to account for my having arrived at 16,000.0 miles at exactly the precise second that I remembered that I'd been close to achieving it.  I see it as God's way of reminding me that He's in my life, not as a bystander, but as an active participant in it.  I see it as His saying, "Hello!" lest I ever become lax in knowing that He is always here, even in what would seem to be the small and insignificant moments.  I'd have been horribly disappointed if I'd discovered that I'd ridden past that milestone without being able to get the picture you see above.

The rest of the ride back from Tunkhannock...

I'm not sure why, but the parking situation was much better in Tunkhannock this morning than it had been last week.  I scored a space right on the end of the block where Chris's office is located.  It's a picturesque town along the Susquehanna River, nestled in what's known as the Endless Mountains section of northern Pennsylvania, and the name is derived from an Indian name of "Bend River Place."

If I had been in the very same place at the end of a school day, I'd never have lingered near a storefront to get a picture such as this of classic tin toys from days long past, but when the hours of a summer vacation day lead from only one relaxing minute to the next I take in as many visual delights as I can without hurrying to kick off my shoes and slow down from a long day of teaching.

A slow cruise along the side of the river is always something I want to do when I have the luxury of time to play with and the park in Tunkhannock between the railroad tracks and the course of the river itself makes for a scenic passing of the time.  It seems to me and others who've made the similar observation, that the greenery this year seems to be much more lush than in typical years.  We wonder if it's because there was so much snow this past winter.  Old timers would have us believe that lots of snow makes for wonderful subsequent growth of farm and garden crops.  If it's true, perhaps it works its magic on the "regular" greenery as well.

Something that makes my love of taking pictures such as this one so much easier, is the nimbleness of the scooter and its ability to do a U-turn quickly.  So many such photo opportunities are lost when I'm in the car only to drive by a scene that I'd like to capture in a photograph, but without an easy chance to reverse direction in sight.

A stop to have lunch gave me this view of the mountains in the distance.  From a good vantage point, I'd be able to see mountains such as these around me in all directions.  There were places on my way back from here where I'd wished I could capture some such pictures but with nowhere to pull the scooter over where I might safely shoot, they were lost except to my memory of them.  I was on long stretches of two lane roads with nothing but dirt and gravel at the shoulders.  I won't stop on such a shoulder for anything short of an absolute emergency lest my foot roll out on the gravel when I put it down.

I always enjoy the sight of a creek from above, and on roads in the Susquehanna River's watershed they're abundant.  I can lose myself in thoughts of water flowing down from the mountains as I can in pondering that God had no beginning in time.  There is something remarkably peaceful to me in watching water moving here in this part of Pennsylvania along its course toward the Chesapeake Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.

If given the chance to live somewhere like this where the next jug of milk or loaf of bread are miles away instead of a few blocks, I'd probably stay put right here where I can touch my next door neighbor's house from my own front porch, but I do envy the folks who make their homes in the country and are happy with being there.  That distance from "civilization" seems to me a thing that one must be born into in order to appreciate it fully.  I like it on vacation, but couldn't take a steady diet of it.

The little guy on the left came out of the barn to watch me watching him.  Curious animals nearly make me giggle with glee.  It was only a few years back when I learned that if one stops along a cow pasture, eventually every last cow will come over to gawk at the viewer who is watching them from the other side of the fence. Pigs do it too, much to my amusement.

I admire folks who live in the middle of nowhere and keep up their homes to fit in beautifully with their pure surroundings.  For every hovel I pass by while riding through the country, it seems that there is a property such as this which looks so cozy and inviting.

There's that sky again making it appear as if the road I'm on just drops off at its edge in the distance.  Surprisingly, on a ride around here coming to that spot in the distance often reveals the sight of another group of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see.

When I came around a bend and caught sight of this unfortunate fellow whose truck is firmly embedded in the pavement he was on the left, out of the frame of this picture, approaching the truck with the long board he's holding.  The guy motioned for me to pass, but I called out, "Go ahead!  I need to get a picture.  This is too cool!"  His grin was priceless.

And, here I am at those 16,000 miles which are nearly twice the perimeter of the continental United States.  Long before I'd ever thought about getting a scooter, I dreamed of someday going coast to coast in a motor home.  Now and then I dream of doing that on a scooter. Thank God dreams are easy!


bob skoot said...


What a co-incidence you stopped right away. Put your dreams into action. You have every summer off anyway so time is on your side. Why not ride across the USA. I did it last year and if I knew where you were I would have stopped at your place.

I too like to take vacations in lesser populated areas but it would be hard to actually live there so far away from services

bob: riding the wet coast

Paul Smith said...

Whole lot of miles Joe! Ride on!

Doug Klassen said...

"I know what I believe and will continue to believe it despite the protestations of those who might want to draw me into battles of words for which there are no endings nor winnings."

You have grown wise, o bearded one!