Breakfast at the Microtel in Gardendale, Alabama is a real wake-up, a brittle break from my ordinarily sheltered, stained-glass routine. Truckers with the rural, southern linguistic twang so familiar to me from childhood and adolescence have a very different perspective on current economic and political concerns than that of my midwestern, middle-class community. I’m tempted to recoil, to take my English muffin and coffee back to the quiet isolation of my room, but somehow I manage to smile at my insecurities, take a breath and enjoy the banter around me.
This is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the rough-hewn forerunner of Jesus, the savior. John had much more in common with these truckers than he has with me. His economy, like theirs is more in tune with nothing than mine is. My cushion is softer, my situation more resilient, but John, along with his trucker buddies, is tougher, more resilient at his core, not dependent on any kind cushion at all.
Breakfast over, it’s time for a bike ride. (My racing seat has NO cushion.) The back roads of North Alabama await offering their soft mimosa perfume. I wonder if I’ll recognise the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world if I cross his path?