Cross-country bike trek video to play at Sebastiani
Happy New Year, 2013. My best wishes to all of you, my dear readers, those who enjoy the column and those who don’t. To steal a little thunder from my dear Alexander Pushkin I share a bit of his epitaph, written of course, by himself, as only he could.
It’s paraphrased here, to suit my purposes, but you can Google the kind man’s own words, as you wish. Here’s my only slightly altered version: “Whatever you seek in these careless strophes – tumultuous recollections, relief from labors, live pictures or bon mots, or faults of grammar – God grant that you, in this (column) for recreation, for the daydream, for the heart, for jousts in journals, may find at least a crumb.”
How dare this simple columnist (that is I, not Alex) presume to borrow such words, from such a master? Well, among my youthful fantasies that are wont to suddenly arise around the New Year, was the belief that I was descended from African slaves and Russian royalty. Certainly, my Georgia Papa and my Finnish Mama worked hard to disabuse me of those notions, without much success.
Yet, reality in time caught up with me. What is true for Mr. P, isn’t necessarily true for me. However, Pushkin’s words may remain a New Year’s wish for the purposes of this column.
Today’s offering fits in the category of relief from labors (for the reader) though possible tumultuous recollections (for the subject, a courageous, adventurous young woman whom I deeply admire). For all of us: yes, this column may provide fodder for recreation, certainly for daydreams, and, my final recommendation, for the heart.
Maren Vick, back in the day, was one of my students. Caring, thoughtful, quiet and demure, I would little imagine her current accomplishment. Part of that is possibly my own failure: how little I may have known about her commitment, courage and perseverance. But maybe the truth is that such things are rarely obvious in middle school. Whichever is the case, her current accomplishment fully impressed me. And I’m not the only one.
Among those impressed with Maren’s recent achievement is also Paul Meincke, a news anchor for ABC in Chicago. Paul has produced a film all about the adventure of Maren and her 11 cohorts, replete with extensive interviews that bring the tale to life.
Last summer, Maren began a 52-day, cross country bicycle voyage, beginning one June day with a wheel-dipping ceremony in the Pacific at San Francisco. The adventure didn’t reach completion until a July day with a similar dip in the Atlantic at Wallis Sands Beach in Portsmouth, N.H. It was there that her parents, Jocelyn and Gene Vick arrived to congratulate her.
Maren’s parents were the initial inspiration for this trip, though it was on a trip with her brother wherein the inspiration got wings and took flight.
Maren’s high school graduation gift from her parents was a beautiful new bike. She and her dad used that new bike to get to her college destination at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Yep, they both actually pedaled all the way. It was Maren’s first great bike adventure and she was hooked. But the demands of college and life took precedence and she didn’t pursue her dreams for an even more challenging ride until last summer’s trip.
While driving in a rapid cross-country trip from Boston, where her brother Ben Vick was studying at Boston University, back to California, Maren realized how much more of the country she wanted to see. Yes, see and experience much more slowly, much more fully, much more intimately. That’s when Maren began planning this adventure that was realized in last summer’s cross-country bicycle trip.
As Maren deadpan explains this amazing voyage, she says simply: 3,865 miles coast-to-coast, 52 days, 13 states, 11 riders. But she ends with the more telling facts: 100 percent fun, 100 percent determination, 100 percent hard work. Among those facts: grueling hot spells all the way through the Midwest, inciting danger of dehydration, to lengthy mountain climbs to the top of the world at the Continental Divide.
It is a noteworthy accomplishment; in fact, one that I can hardly imagine. And I wouldn’t have been able to except that Maren shared her daily blog, writing about each adventure along the way.
Now, I’m looking forward to experiencing Maren’s trip more fully by seeing the film produced by her friend Paul Meincke, who was also along on the trip. You can enjoy that opportunity, too.
Roger and Diana Rhoten, who also know and love Maren, will be showing the film at the Sebastiani Theatre. The proposed date is Saturday, Jan. 12, at noon. As I write this, that date is tentative and may have to be rescheduled, so check their schedule in this paper and online.
While not all of us are capable of completing such a demanding feat, we can all be inspired to follow our own dream by the example of Maren and her friends. That’s the point of my mentioning “for the heart.”
Certainly, such physical exercise adds to the physical heart’s health, but, even more, it shows that following one’s dreams opens the heart to new worlds. While eschewing the hackneyed phrase, “now I can do anything,” Maren freely admits, “since this ride everything in my life, every choice I make relates to this.”
That’s a strong recommendation for pursuing your dreams, even if you believe they’re out of reach. For Maren, who teaches spin classes in San Francisco seven days a week, that now means returning to Oregon State where she will pursue an exercise and sport science degree.
We congratulate her and eagerly anticipate the film.
Meanwhile, we want to offer even more of a shout-out to Roger and Diana at the Sebastiani. We love the new Specticast Film presentations that they are offering. When we were first introduced to the concept, I thought great: here is an opportunity to view cultural events for a bargain price, without the hassle of the drive.
Oh my, how much more it’s turned out to be.
For instance, I love opera. Of course the trip to the San Francisco Opera House is well worth the grandeur of that venerable icon; experiencing it in person makes the trip entirely rewarding. So, that alone wouldn’t be my motivation. Bargain prices? Well, who among us isn’t motivated by that these days?
But what really convinced me that the new Specticast productions were great was actually seeing one. The intimate views of instruments, of emotions playing off the faces of the performers, the sense that you are fully part of the production is outstanding. Drawn into the arts in a way which I’ve never experienced has been an inspiration for me. I appreciate the art of the folks who make these productions as much as I appreciate any gifted filmmaker (and that includes Meincke).
So, along with his film, I urge you to check out the Specticast offerings at the Sebastiani. Next up is the San Francisco Opera’s current production of “Madame Butterfly.” It’s a show I’ve seen in multiple variations at the opera house. Still, I can’t wait to see it this time, up close and personal in a way never possible from the balcony. And, just like in Meincke’s film of Maren’s ride, interviews are included. See you there.
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Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before the run date.