Yesterday I finished reading Ellen Meloy’s The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky. This book truly moved me. It made me ache, hurt, long, dream, exhale. I know some of Meloy’s places, and I hope we all know, or grow to know, our places as well or as intimately as Meloy knows hers. I set the book down yesterday thinking that I wanted to share a chunk of it here with you, and this morning, sobered by unthinkable news, I opened it and it fell to a page upon which I had underlined these words:

“In those days my friends and I strode through an uncertain world, strong-limbed and reluctant to settle. Our emotions were nearly torrential but not very durable. In our young lives, in those glorious mountains of summer, this swing was, like the waterfall, a necessary flight from the sheltered to the wild.” (p.115)

These words are far more powerful in the context of the stories Meloy is telling about her youth, but I share them here partly in rememberance of the energy, encouragement, inspiration and exuberance of a knitter whose company I was lucky to enjoy weekly at my knitting group out west. I was the baby of this group, and she was always so excited about the things in my life for me, about the discovery and adventures in my future, about what was around the bend. From where I sat, she was someone I wanted to be like: confident, capable, silly and selfless.

She was out riding her bike on Monday evening, and was struck by a car. She died there on the road.

She commented here on the blog occasionally, and I learned of the accident because I happened to glance at my blog stats, and noticed that several people had done searches of her name and found my blog. I googled too, wondering why.

I write this here for two reasons:

(1) These kinds of accidents tend to incite heated, hyperbolic, angry debate between motorists and cyclists. In the eyes of the law, bicycles are vehicles, and they/their operators have legal rights and responsibilities as such. The majority of cyclists understand and obey the rules of the road. Many motorists respect cyclists and obey the law. Despite this, there is still quite a bit of confusion and anger, on both sides, about what the rules are. We need more education, for both cyclists and motorists, about how to peacefully and safely coexist on the road.

In this particular case, it seems that my friend did everything right. It wasn’t enough.

(2) I write this because I’m saddened that it takes something like this for us to tell the people in our lives what they mean to us. I have lost someone who inspired and encouraged me — someone whose kind words convinced me to go home from my very first knitting group night and seam up my first sweater. I imagine that this particular person had a similar impact on a whole slew of people, and my thoughts are certainly with her husband, her children, and her community.

Comments are closed on this post. Instead, please make sure someone who has inspired you knows it.