Week 11: The Great Cumbrae

To the hopeful one thinking you can slide by never displeasing anyone; never yourself angry at a soul:

First, remember that you are human. Yes, you are in Scotland. But even among unicorns—the national animal of this land–you are still only human.

The International Society hosted a Cycling trip. The Great Cumbrae. Located on the western coast off of a town called Largs, a ferry ride away. An island to cycle 11 miles round, enjoy the views, spot the sheep. It just sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? It was forecasted to rain, but what else is new? I awoke with the greatest of intentions to enjoy the day.


The smallest thing, sweetest of wee cherries, can be the sugar to blow you up. The added bit threatening to silence your day.

You’re bound to get frustrated. You’re bound to even get angry, maybe hold a spell of cold silence. I know you hope to skate by on a wave of peace, but don’t you know, all waves come crashing down at some point? You sure as heck are bound to be hypocritical. Hold it loosely in your heart, you’re human.

The sky was blue. We were taught this at a young age. In Scotland, you’re tempted to think that all these years you may have been deceived. The sky is not blue. It’s grey.

Yesterday, though, on the Great Cumbrae, it was blue. I was a kid again learning to cycle. Pushing off the ground onto the pedals, Dad holding the rear to let go as I take off, pedaling and pedaling.

Coasting down hills, spinning my wheels round to feel the wind in my hair, singing and singing. Doe a deer, a female deer. Ray a drop of golden sun... It’s contagious, overlaid with Italian, mixed in with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, a few of my favorite things…because we are kids learning to sing with Julie Andrews in my favorite childhood film as we play along the coast of rocky beaches and green hills speckled with yellow bushes.


I’ve been taught: Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. In Scotland, that may seem a scary thing. When the sun barely shines for long, how do you simmer to room temperatures before the rain returns? But in Scotland, I’ve seen the sun come out at the perfect times. I’ve seen the grass get greener. I’ve seen angry rain spit in my face to be blown away by gusts of wind minutes later.

It wasn’t Austria, no, but the hills were alive with the sound of music. By the end, my bum was awful sore, my eyes heavy and my clothes wet with the routine 15 minute downpour. Yet, my soul was alive, my anger died and I let myself remember 5-year-old Alexis again.

Love Always,



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