Thursday, April 24, 2014

New territory, the pounding Atlantic


~car to Jacksonville, FL
~2 miles to Arlington
~30 miles to class in Jacksonville
~35 miles to class in Orange Park
~42 miles to St. Augustine

The bike was fixed by now; my leg was still on the mend, working towards keeping off an infection. And I had just one state line left to cross: Florida. I crossed from PA to DE to MD to VA to NC to SC to GA via bicycle... but I'd cross Florida's state line via car.

The difficult part of this trip (amongst other things) is having such fixed dates for classes and intermediate cities, which puts pressure on making it there on time, amidst mechanical issues, inclement weather, and anything else the Universe has in store. The next leg of my trip was going to be driving to Jacksonville. Easing on expectations. There is the plan and 'the other plan.'

Class the first day in Jacksonville was at the Youth Crisis Center. There were two classes; the first class was 4 girls, ages 12-17. The second class was 12 boys, ages 12-17.

Different class, different personalities, different circumstances, different energy. Thus, our yoga classes were very different.

I was met with a bit of resistance at first, a student or two saying 'I don't want to do no fucking yoga.' I don't blame them. It can be super vulnerable. And who was I to come into their home and talk about yoga? I allowed them to still hold a place in the room and sit off to the side while we did yoga. I was amazed that both students eventually joined in the class (of their own accord), once we started talking about anxiety and working towards breathing and relaxing. Interesting.

The next day, there were 4 classes with youth from the Belmont Head Start School in Orange Park. ~20 students each class, ages 3-5. That's 80 3-5 year olds; I was definitely exhausted after this one. 

After the classes, I biked back to where I was staying in the Arlington section of Jacksonville to do laundry and regather my belongings to prepare to depart again the next morning. Even with just two bags I somehow still feel like I have too many things. I am further streamlining.

Currently, I am resting at a hostel in St. Augustine and am departing again early tomorrow morning to Daytona Beach for the class there. I've been trying to leave earlier these mornings to beat the intensity of the sun. I no longer have to worry about wild dogs; now I am en route on roads with other cyclists (finally) as well as armadillos and potential snakes and alligators. I've yet to see a gator, though.

I've always been more enamored by the space offered in mountainous and forested areas, but there is something truly cathartic about the sea; its constant movement, it's massive size, it's ability to encompass everything within it. There is no single drop of ocean, but the ocean itself.

I am cruising down SR A1A, the Atlantic pounding yards away from me, seagulls in the air, the warm sun shining down on everything. 

40 days in, over 1200 miles biked...

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