The Good Red Road


The Good Red Road. That could be some prelude to a reading of the Communist Manifesto. It could be the title of a song recorded by Timothy B. Schmit. I could be talking about that philosophy of how to live your life, or I could be talking about that area of ochre-colored dirt in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. In this case, though, I am talking about none of those (at least not directly) but rather about the book by that title. Funny that during all those years as an anthropologist, all those years of work in an American Indian research library, I never had occasion to read the Good Red Road until I found a copy just a few years ago.

As I read through books and find passages that are especially relevant at the moment, or one that I think might be relevant in the future, I tend to write them down. Buried in the middle of one such notebook of notes I wrote the following piece of conversation from the Good Red Road: "She bought something for him, a cigarette lighter, and somebody liked it, and he gave it away. And she was mad at my boy for it, but I told her, 'You just don't understand our ways. We came into this world without anything and that's the way we're going to go out.. We don't put a dollar sign on what we have or own. And if somebody likes it and is gonna enjoy it same as you did, fine - give it to him because it'll always come back to you again." (pg 41)

People these days, and I am no different, are rarely satisfied with what they have. We strive for something more, something better. Want trumps need until house walls bulge outward with excess. Honestly, this post would have nothing to do with bicycling, if it were not for that concept of giving (it is that time of year after all). Cycling stuff, everything from old kit, to N+1 bikes that have not been ridden in years, old components switched out for newer models, water bottles lining shelves like beer bottles in a college dorm room retain their usefulness long after we have given up on them. High school mountain bike teams, bicycle cooperatives and wheelhouses, in particular, can always use donations, donations that could help get one person on the road, or keep another person on the trails.

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