“What were you thinking about today while you were cycling?” my husband asked me while we were waiting for our lunch in a Lithuanian palace, as one does.
“The dead people,” I responded.
“Which dead people?” he asked rather incredulously.
“All the dead people,” I responded rather matter-of-factly.
“So we’re worrying about all the dead people in the world now, are we?” Colin always says that if I have nothing to worry about I find something to worry about.
Today while cycling I was thinking about and praying for family and friends I know who have passed away. Over the past 55 days, I have cycled by many cemeteries and countless roadside memorials for people who must have died in road accidents. Every time I see a roadside memorial, a cemetery, or even a dead animal by the side of the road, I whisper the Muslim prayer, “We belong to God and to Him we return.”
I’ve often thought about all the people who have ever walked this earth who are now long gone and buried within the soil. My grandfather died when I was in university. My father and uncles went and visited him in his grave when they could. My father is now gone as well. My siblings and I will visit him when we can. I will die one day and my children will visit me when they can. But it’s only one or possibly two generations of people who ever really remember a person after they have gone. When those generations pass away as well, the dead in the ground are remembered no more. (more…)
It always takes a couple of days after entering a new country to understand its roads.
The day started off beautifully.
Today was supposed to be a pretty straight-forward and easy 55km cycle. That’s a nothing day. There is a major road, the E67, that links Marijampole, where we spent last night, with Kaunas, today’s destination. We entered Lithuania on that road yesterday and it felt very unsafe. Yesterday, the E67 was a busy single carriageway with a very narrow shoulder and lots of trucks rushing about as if it were the end of the world. We got off it yesterday as soon as we managed and found a nice country road that took us into town. We planned stick to country roads again today.
I checked my digital map and found that, with a bit of smart navigating, we could stay on country roads without going too far out of our way. It was going to be a short day so we had time on our side to deal with any potential difficulties.
The day started out beautifully. It was bright and warm. We made a couple wrong turns to start but were soon back on track. We cycled on nice, quiet, well-paved country roads, Colin waving at the cows and pointing out all the storks to me. Northern Poland and southern Lithuania are full of them – storks, that is.