Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?


A Birthday Mini-Miracle

This past Saturday I spent my 31st birthday with my wonderful honey in Sacramento in active pursuit of physical prowess and selective skillfulness.  That is to say we rode our bikes along the American River to the restored northern California "French Quarter" known as Old Sac.  This section of Sacramento is a touristy neighborhood of parking scarcity and abundant old-fashioned candies, of restaurants and art galleries, in which one can while the time away enjoying an artfully crafted burger beneath a 19th century stained glass work of art.  Indeed we did just that, and marveled as well at the smell of nutty brittles (we purchased some of the peanut variety) and the girth of parked motorcycles, all gallantly arrayed in chrome and bright paint.  Our garb was minimal, our gear the same.  Just water, gloves, and for me a small pack to hold a hydration hose and wallet and keys, the necessities and nothing more.

According to Sarah's GPS-enabled watch it was a 10 mile ride along the bike path and over the bridge to reach our destination and achieve a look-see of Old Sac and its pioneer-era historical underbelly before tucking into a lunch at Fat City.  Ten miles back with a decently full belly?  We were up for it, even though we were also scheduled for a 2.5 hour AcroYoga workshop that night.  The topic?  The Art and Science of Handstands!  As ready as we were for lunch, we hoped we hadn't gobbled too much so as to gravitationally affect the inverted selves we'd soon be at the workshop...

Riding together along the path under a blessedly sunny sky, the American River shimmering to the south and then the west, we spun riddles and guessed at the habits of hummingbirds before returning to our neighborhood's environs.  Before we reached the final street, I suggested we use some of our ample time before the workshop to hunt for a geocache that I'd looked for in the area but had yet to find.  "Four eyes could be more effective than two," I reasoned.  

We made a few more turns and dismounted the bicycles.  I dropped my pack and retrieved my keychain and the LED light I keep on it - for one never knows when illumination will make all the difference!  Sarah headed into a nearby restaurant for a moment while I poked and sniffed about for the elusive hidden cache.  Not there.  Not theeeeere.  Not there either.  Hrmmm.  Oh what's this?  Not on a padlock, not in a steel chain, and not down either of the two metal pipes that I'd searched before, the secret capsule was disguised behind a bolt running vertically through a concrete parking barrier the likes of which can be found in your nearest strip mall.  I signed the log as Sarah was returning and soon we were off on the last half mile to home.  In retrospect, the finding of the cache was not to be the carefree experience I'd felt it was at the time.  Little did I know...

At home we put down meditation cushions and had a brief zazen seated meditation before making some preliminary preparations for heading to the workshop.  Snacks were nibbled and time ticked by.  And then a detail that I'd somehow overlooked shot like a thunderbolt from my subconscious up and out of my mouth. 

"Where is my backpack?"

We entered the home with my keys, but they were in my pocket since I'd taken the pack off to retrieve them.  My phone was in my other pocket and had been used to locate the approximate location of the geocache.  I remember leaning the red and black pack against one of the pipes I was searching, but there was no memory of putting it back on again.  Maybe I'd brought it into the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen?  None of that made sense.  Pulse quickening, I knew what must have happened:  In our excitement to get back home and head to the workshop, I had left my pack and thus my wallet with all of its vulnerable treasures right next to a sidewalk near a busy Sacramento intersection.  For more than an hour.  An hour that we'd spent relaxing and meditating and looking forward to the evening of going upside down.  Well now things were FEELING upside down!

In twenty seconds we were out the door, snacks unfinished in the kitchen and yoga gear in tow, racing nervously to see whether I'd be canceling credit cards and looking up the location of the DMV for getting a new driver's license.  Thoughts of hoodlums with eyes wide open as they pored over the contents of my wallet came from the inner psyche.  We both were charged with the unmistakeable electric rush of being jolted into action and though it was exhilarating, neither of us were hoping the day's excitement would be taking such a form.  "Maybe someone turned it in to La Bou," Sarah wondered about the eatery near the scene of the potential crime.  "It's okay, it's just stuff, just another challenge to overcome and deal with," said the part of me that was probably lying catatonic near the back of my cerebellum.  I'd even forgotten it was my birthday, despite the "gotcha" surprise party we'd had the night before.

Sarah maneuvered her Honda like a prowling tiger among the traffic lights that impeded our advance to the cache site.  Maybe maybe maybe........ Maybe it's still just sitting there.  Maybe people passing by thought someone was watching it.  Maybe this is all a frightfully realistic trick and the hilarious truth will be revealed - I'm on candid camera perhaps?  Not to be.  Reality was cold and hard in my face and I was going to learn a lesson in mindfulness whether I liked it or not.  We zoomed around the final turn and there, in the near-darkness I spotted the pack, slumped down against the pipe exactly where I'd left it.

To go from a state of shock and disbelief to a state of relief and even more disbelief was not much of a relief as all!  We were so amped up by the realization of simple oversight that the pack I now held in my hands felt unreal, and remained so after I located the wallet intact inside and we were well on our way to the workshop.  To Sarah I felt apologetic for the oversight that led to such a heightened sense of urgency, and to myself I felt compassion for being a simple human with the capacity to forget and overlook.  It was mini, sure, but it was still an unlikely miraculous end to a birthday so full of good energy.  31 years ago I'd been born.  Hopefully I'd been reborn through this little experience to pay a bit more attention.

"How'd the workshop go?," you might be asking.  Sarah's gift to us both went great.  I made sure to bring my pack into the studio (ha) and we both learned some techniques that will keep us upside down in our practices for a long time to come.  Lesson learned.  Thank you, good people of Sacramento!


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