After struggling for months with whether to remain a member of my synagogue community, I've given myself permission to step back from any involvement with the shul for an open-ended time. I haven't formally resigned, but I want to take some time away and think about what I will do next.
So on this Shabbat morning, I found myself with no congregation to worship with.
I could have gone somewhere else, but would have felt strange, and among strangers.
So instead I hopped on my bicycle and took a ride.
I took the MAX to the Rose Quarter.
Just after getting of the train, I stood on the platform and watched as a gaggle of Canadian geese walked along the sidewalk across the tracks from me. Their funny gaits made me giggle out loud.
I was riding the Bridgestone today. I hadn't ridden it in many weeks, and had been thinking of selling it. But today I rode it and I liked it again. I think the only thing that's really crying out for a change is the handlebar, which right now is too wide and too far away. (I'd like to try a Wald Touring bar and see if that doesn't help a little.)
I enjoyed the ride down the ramps onto the Eastbank Esplanade. Although I had slept very poorly -- I do most nights anymore -- I still found the energy to pedal harder to get up the incline to the top of the Esplanade viewpoint. The sun was trying to come out through what was left of the clouds.
I caught my breath, enjoyed the view, and pedaled on until I arrived at Rivelo.
I wanted to stop in and wish John a happy new year. But in the end, it turned into a discussion about the challenges of organized religion in the modern world. John is a smart, thoughtful fellow and I appreciated both his interest and his perspective.
He was pouring tiny shots of whiskey for visitors, and poured a tiny little bit into my coffee thermos. Although I don't care for whisky straight, it's a very nice addition to a hot cup of coffee.
Afterwards, I headed into downtown, grabbed a light lunch (paying for it with a pocket full of small change, which annoyed the cashier but I didn't care; coin of the realm is still coin of the realm) and eventually made my way home.
While I reached no conclusions about my ongoing situation with my synagogue community -- and I think that whole mess will take awhile to sort out -- I did feel better for having ridden today. One of the nicest parts was that it started to sprinkle ever so slightly about half a mile from home, but didn't become actual rainfall until the bike was safely locked up and I was heading into the house. Great timing.