This morning I departed our Villa, made my way through the quiet, damp streets of Ponte a Moriano, and took the turn to the left up Aquilea. My superb guide, Alison, was nowhere to be found. The road was damp, the sky threatening, and the climb, after a couple twists and turns, greeted me with Olive trees to the left and open vistas to the right. A little less than two miles later the summit appeared and I remembered Alison’s instructions to just keep turning to the left to complete the loop back to town. The road to the left turned slightly downward. The road to the right was clearly going up. I took no time to decide my path – right!
The road grew in steepness as it shrunk in width. After what seemed like twenty switchbacks (more likely less than ten), the path turned from paved to gravel and my breathing was turned inside out. I clipped out satisfied and sufficiently spent. Bravo.
Beginning my descent and feeling like I’d done something, I took the turn to the right and after traveling flat for a half a mile, the fork came again. Left was safe, right unknown. Right again. Almost immediately the terrain turned a bit flatter and instead of Olive trees and grape vines, it was a forest that wrapped over the road like my own canopy to cover the sun. I looked up to admire the beauty and just then a clap of thunder greeted me to wake me out of my cycling bliss. I decided to keep pedaling and take another chance. After five minutes of not paying attention, the rain began to fall as if someone had opened a hole in the clouds. Drenched and suddenly sober, I turned my Trek Spartacus and descended a road that was quickly becoming a river. The first farmhouse offered a slight refuge under the barn overhang. I watched the rain pound the pavement and waited. Ten minutes and the sky opened to blue and I began my turn to the right. After descending more than a few miles, my mind rebooted and reminded me I’d lost track of my turns to the right. I’d ventured off Alison’s course twice and forgotten to drop my breadcrumbs in my brain.
I felt a short sense of panic and then began to strategize where to turn on the wet descent. Finally, I saw a good spot to turn and back up I began. Long story short. I would get confused twice again and finally come to a complete stop at a crossroads of sorts. You see, I had reached a sign that told me the way to Aquilea was back down the road I had just traversed going up. Nothing made sense, so I clipped out of my pedals and caught my breath hoping some semblance of clear thought would return. It did not.
However, a couple non English speaking maintence workers happened by in their van. I pointed to the sign and asked if the turn to the left led to Aquilea’s city limits and on to Ponte a Moriano. “Si, Si, Si,” they said as if it was one word. We smiled at almost the same time. Then the driver pointed to the other road I’d traversed after the confusion of the shitstorm of sorts. He pointed and told me Ponte a Moriano, si, si, si, si. He was telling me that either road would get me there. I smiled and we waved goodbye.
Your path, friend, is no different than mine this morning. You’re gonna get lost along your way. The key is to keep pedaling, keep moving, and keep humbling asking those the universe sends your way for some help. There are many ways and eventually they all take you home. Today, I got lost outside of Lucca. Today, I also found my way. Lost and found, friend. Lost and found. This is the way home. Good…