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.


Denise Krebs said...

Ruth, wow! 1000 miles! I'm going to have to go back and look at previous posts--which I have missed--and learn more about your biking adventures. Thanks for sharing the song. These lines:
"Mercy always finds a way
To wrap your blisters up in grace"
Wow! Amen!

Tim Kulp said...

Great accomplishment Ruth! Congratulations! I really enjoyed the song you shared. The visuals are really clear and I can imagine my own map like that. Excellent share. Thank you!

Mary Lee said...

1000 is a lot of miles on a bike. Good onya, and keep the pedals turning! This song/poem is a gem, and I can see why it's stayed with you all these years. Now it's in my playlist, too. Great reminder that every mile matters, ever mile makes us who we are now.

mbhmaine said...

Wow, this song rocked me. The ideas about regrets and every mile mattering really resonated. I love that chorus:
It's history
You can't rewrite it
You're not meant to be
Trapped inside it

I'll definitely listen to this again. Thank you so much for sharing this post today. It really meant a lot to me.
PS Your biking stats are most impressive! Keep exploring, Ruth :)

Linda Mitchell said...

Wow! Congratulations! 1,000 miles is nothing to sneeze at. What a lovely poem and song. Love the details that bring up memories for me. Coffee stains, circled places--bridges burned(love that). This one is a keeper. Here's to more days of pedaling all out downhill! Wheeeeeeee!

Janice Scully said...

Great poem and wonderful accomplishment. 1000 miles! Good advice about helmets. I love the sentiment in not letting the past define you. Yes.

Mary Lee said...

Just saw this quote and thought of you:

“The years go by. The time flies. Every single second is a moment in time that passes. And it seems like nothing - but when you’re looking back ... well, it amounts to everything.” - Ray Bradbury

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, congratulations on your accomplishment and thanks for sharing the Nicole N. song. It sounds like one for us to ponder at Spiritual Journey Thursday. The line that resonates with me is "It's history/You can't rewrite it." That is the truth but our history leads us to where we are now. There is comfort in the fact that we can look back and know that we have evolved. Peace!

Alan j Wright said...

Love the closing lines of the song/poem, Ruth. A powerful way to close. Your introduction carries weight. It presents the journey on a bike as a metaphor for life. Both bring challenges and joy.Keep those wheels turning.

Patricia Franz said...

Oh, Ruth... beautiful song and lyrics to accompany your accomplishment. As a fellow cyclist, well, those biking miles are special miles. I just finished a 300mi tour last week. My body is fatigued. My legs are slow up stairs and on my morning forest hikes. But I'm grateful for the miles. Thank you for sharing this.