Thursday, July 21, 2022

Poetry Friday: Every Mile


This week, my total number of cycling miles since I joined Strava in April clicked over to 1000. (Strava is an app to keep track of athletic activity.) A thousand miles, mostly on a tandem (the one in the picture, from summer days in Kentucky, or the one in Paraguay), but some on a single bike. 


The poem I'm sharing today is really a song, written by one of my favorites, Nichole Nordeman. It's about miles. (Scroll past the video to read the words.) As I listen to this song, I think about the miles from this year so far. Some were fun and exhilarating, coasting or even pedaling all out downhill, going out-of-control fast. Some were painful, endless climbs, in the lowest gear. I even fell off my single bike a couple of times, once landing hard enough that I had to replace my helmet. (Always wear a helmet, kids.) There were a bunch of literal miles, and it's also, of course, a metaphor for all that I can't go into. You have your own miles; you know what I mean.

Every Mile Mattered

by Nichole Nordeman


Spread the map on the table

With the coffee stain

Put your finger on the places

Show me where you've been


Is that California

Where your teardrops dried?

You drew a circle around Georgia.

Can you tell me why?


I see should have beens, could have beens

Written all over your face,

Wrong turns and bridges burned,

Things you want to change


It's history

You can't rewrite it

You're not meant to be

Trapped inside it


Every tear brought you here

Every sorrow gathered

It's history

But every mile mattered


Get the box off the top shelf

With the black and white

Snapshots of your old self

In a better light

Ghosts and regrets back again

I can see it in your eyes

Send them home, let 'em go

Don't you think it's time?


It's history

You can't rewrite it

You're not meant to be

Trapped inside it


Every tear brought you here

Every sorrow gathered

It's history


Every road and every bend

Every bruise and bitter end

All you squandered, all you spent

It mattered, it mattered

Mercy always finds a way

To wrap your blisters up in grace

Every highway you'd erase

It mattered, it mattered

But it's history

It don't define ya

You're free to leave

It all behind ya

Every tear brought you here

Every sorrow gathered

It's history

Every mile mattered

Every mile mattered



I shared this song once before, in 2018, with some thoughts.

Mary Lee has the roundup this week.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Poetry Friday: July

I'm in the United States during this warm, dry summer. Some of the best moments in the last few weeks have involved friends, family, birds, and bicycles. I took the coneflower photo above on a morning birding expedition a couple of days ago.

Here's a poem about July:

July Day

by Babette Deutsch

The afternoon sways like an elephant, wears

His smooth grey hide, displays his somnolent grace, weighing

The majesty of his ponderous pace against

The slyness twinkling in an innocent eye.


Keep reading here, where the metaphor of the "elephant afternoon" goes on. 

Here's this week's roundup.

Reading Update

Book #33 of the year was a re-read, How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help is On the Way and Love is Already Here, by Jonathan Martin. Since I bought it in October 2016, I've gone through it several times. You can see the review I wrote on first reading here.

Book #34 was Summer Love, by Nancy Thayer. This was a fun, if forgettable, read.

Book #35 was Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo, by Jenny Feldon. This is a story of an expat, a "trailing spouse" who moves to India for her husband's job. She has trouble adjusting, but eventually manages it, as the title suggests. This was well-written and quite entertaining.

Book #36 was The Kidnapping of an American Missionary: One Woman’s Story of Courage and Conviction Under Fire, by Phyllis Sortor. I read a paper copy, but it looks as though the only format currently available from Amazon is on Kindle. Sortor, a long-term missionary in Nigeria, recounts the story of her traumatic kidnapping.