I woke up in Emenence Missouri, and I ate breakfast with Matt and Stuart at the inn that we'd camped behind. It was a delicious breakfast prepared by the proprietor, and it felt like we were sitting in a home rather than a business. I sheepishly bummed a couple bucks off of Matt to pay, and noted that it was a shitty way to part ways. Contact information was thoroughly exchanged, and they were off. I stood alone in the grass with a head full of fuzz and apathy. I packed my tent away slowly, and planned my day: bathroom at the gas station; ride some miles after that. I began to pedal in the lethargic trance of a man without a motive.
Images passed through my head. A jar of deceased butterflies sitting sideways on a windowsill; found and collected carefully from where their fragile lives left them. A loose colorful bundle of delicate wings, maybe fifty or so, were framed like a ship in a bottle. The image was honest and heavy in the hot early sun. The dusty wings were beautiful in unison; a silent chorus.
It's a rare opportunity to see water this clear. Cold mountain springs run together to form rivers, and the rivers have calm pools where you can see crisp detail at the bottom. I've often seen water from the tap with more color. A few lucky times I've seen a body of water this pure. To be submerged here is a gift which we all deserve.
I contrast this with an image that Stuart experienced early in his trip. A dead cyclist burned an image stronger than those butterfly wings. For him it was difficult. I might have decided to go home. He traveled from Scotland three days after finishing university, and thank god he found Nick a few days later. I believe their meeting was one of life's humble apologies.