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The Girl with the Aqua Toque

"Mommy, put this picture up on Instagram and add #toqueforlife."

This did it. Finally, the black cloud lifted and I can get back to my sunny disposition. My Canadian loving Peyton. Should have known she'd be the one to infiltrate this terrible funk and help me kick it to the curb.

Traditionally I'm not great around the holidays. If you know me well, you would think this is a little weird given how nuts I am for the world around us. But year after year, something creeps up on me. It hurts to breathe. I want to take long naps, but find I can't sleep. I lose enthusiasm for the projects I need/want to do. I get even more prickly at chauvinistic behavior--empathy levels plummet. All I want to do is escape--hop on my bike and go as far and as hard as I can (which as it turns out, is a pretty decent training tool).

I don't like to be bummed out unnecessarily, so I attempt to reset and give myself a stern talk'n to. The other night I rode home in the dark--completely stormy, I stood pretending I was a little sailboat, the wind filling my empty sails, pushing me home. The rain pelting my face, jolted me back to my teenage years when my brother and I would sneak out of the house and ride our bikes up and down darkened streets, scouting for singletrack in the stark desert. We spoke little and focused on what the night sky illuminated for us. Of course we didn't have lights or helmets or cell phones to call home in case of an emergency. It was just us, the stars, and that beautiful sound of gravel and sand beneath our tires. Somehow we always timed our return as the sun began to rise and before our father woke--our secret safe for another day.

My memory holds onto these nightly rides with shark-like ferocity. They are the best memories I have of my brother--the last time he seemed human to me, but more importantly, they shaped the life I have now and the friendships I have cultivated along the way. Unearthing new adventures without cluttering it up with unnecessary or inauthentic sentiment. My riding partner has been replaced by many extraordinary people, most notably, my brother's son.

The holidays are a time of reflecting. We all have lost. We all have cherished. We all are so goddamn lucky. And I am particularly thankful to Peyton for prodding me forward with her usual humor so that I can let go.

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