I recently had the wonderful opportunity to take a bike ride on the beautiful Discovery Trail in Long Beach, Washington. Along the trail I observed families with attentive parents assisting their children to navigate the various twists, turns, dips, drops, and strait-a-ways. I noticed slower more cautious riders moving leisurely along, and also more confident and experienced riders speeding along, decked out with all the right biking gear and accessories. There were contemplative and preoccupied walkers listening on music headsets or talking into their phones, and others pushing strollers or walking dogs. There were stretches of solitude on the path and sections of bustling crowds. An exhilarating part of the journey for me was having the warmth of the sun on my face with the beautiful ocean in view.
On my journey, I couldn’t help but notice some common parallels with daily life. A word that continued to press upon my mind was perseverance. A map at the beginning of the trail provided the course, but as riders and walkers along the trail we were free to choose the pace at which we traveled. Some, like the small boy that forgot to brake under the boardwalk and fell down, had an unexpected interruption in his pace; but his parents quickly recovered him, reminded him of the cautions, wiped his tears and he was on his way again. Others, like the woman who had taken a break for a bit to sit on a bench and soak in the scenery, had chosen to savor the moment. But whatever the pace or the obstacles, all of us continued on the path.
The ride reminded me of the most basic of principles that apply to life: Be an alert navigator, be courteous towards others, be confident in your abilities, take the time to ponder on matters of life, and most of all, remember to enjoy the journey and the ride.
Looking through this crosscut lens of humanity was refreshing. It gave me pause as I reflected on all of our various journeys – and on my gratitude to you, dear citizens - for your grace and support in my journey as Longview’s Mayor while navigating in these extraordinary times. Thank you for enduring these times with wisdom, for making do when necessary, and for learning new ways of doing without so many of the pleasures that we have come to enjoy in life. We are doing far better than we think and we are all becoming more flexible at this new way of living.
Whether you are walking or riding, whatever path you may be on, the change of the season is upon us. We are in the beginnings of battening down the hatches and readying up for winter life. Change is coming. We wait patiently for another day and persevere with the hope of sunnier times.
Courage and carry on,
Mayor MaryAlice Wallis