The Great Divide

July 7, 2012

As I’ve noted before, cycling long distances lends itself to introspection. Every ride is a little different, and I find it interesting how some rides have a “theme” that emerges organically right from the start.

A couple days ago I set out for a good long ride at daybreak. A conversation with my neighbor; a woman I passed while still in town early in the ride; a self-imposed career crossroads which was weighing on my mind at the time; all these thoughts were swirling in my head in the early miles.

Change. Priorities. Choices. Consequences. These were the heavy “truths of life” forming a canvas of intersecting lines in my mind.  Could I have been a better son?  A better neighbor?  A better employee?  Have I been too selfish?  Too detached?

In one of those beautiful, ineffable moments that cycling delivers, the external environment seemed to mirror the inner, as a very poignant song popped onto my Pandora within minutes of leaving home.  The song was “The Great Divide”, by VNV Nation, my favorite modern-day band, which I’ve given props to previously on this site.

Deep is the longing in the heart that ever strives
The expanses far and wide that still confine
The simple facts that yet lay waiting to be found
As lost as some forgotten promised land

I pedaled on, amazed at this overlap of inner monologue and outer media.

Consider reasons through long goodbyes
Looking back for one last time

Just for a second look into your heart
As you stand and look across the great divide
Remember well the things that you will leave behind
As you set out to cross the vast and great divide

As this was playing I was pushing forward into a sprawling landscape of open roads, open fields, farmland, big skies.  It was as though the singer was grabbing bits of my reality and working them into the song.

Guard and defend when forces hinder and collide
Solemn intentions both blessed and divine
You still pulled victory from shattered hope
Count your doubts with broken smiles
Covered your hurt in your pride

I pedaled on, still in the early stages of a ride which stretched hours.  As has happened so many times before, this awesomely uplifting band delivered a set of personally insightful lyrics just at a point when my ears were most open to hear them.  I found my answers, and I was more content for having faced the questions.  As so many times before, the bike ride delivered on many levels at once.