Okay, so I have been cycling in Cuba for the past two weeks. Had a great trip with Peter Marshall of Canbicuba and Les of Almonte. There were eighteen of us, I think. We travelled from Mantanzas to the Bay of Pigs to Trinidad and the Escambray mountains, etc.

All totaled just over 700 kms, mostly into a head wind and with a couple of gruesome climbs, the worst of which was the fourteen km-1000 metre climb up Topes de Collantes, with pitches of 18-22%–very tough. Many of us had to dismount on the first 7 kms. The second half was easier but not by much. All of which to say that while the mileage was only about 70 kms/day, the riding was intense. Still, the last day saw us sailing in the thirties for some 85 kms–very sweet. Thanks Peter for a great trip. It was a very nice mix of riding and cultural sites and rest days. We did have a few laughs, too. ”Did you hear the one about the duck that walks into a bar … .” ciao, hc

Okay, so, here is the Mary Oliver Poem that I talked about.

My good friend, Rae,  recited this at the beginning of his speech at a retirement dinner. He had been asked to say a few words. Needless to say the opening and ending lines caught everyone’s attention. Will they catch yours? This was a Catholic audience. Rae is not Catholic, although he is catholic in the secondary sense of this word.  ciao, hc

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, The House Light Beacon Press Boston, 1990.

And, now, I’m off to Mallorca–

”Ou’ Le Dieu a vous seme’, il faut savoir fleuir”–A Furst