I discovered yesterday that it happened. The final finger of the Hand of God Tree fell into the Chattahoochee River. This hand-to-stump transformation has taken about ten years. I’ve known, per my Higher Power, that once the final finger fell, I would be finally, fully and completely, blessed and released from my local calling.
The timing made sense. Literally. I sensed it coming in my very bones. I sensed it coming during my transformational experience on the Brooklyn Bridge two weeks ago that let me know something was up.
And then, yesterday morning, I had published another aspirational media release about something simple that is completely possible right now, and received the inevitable negative feedback about how moving orange barriers four feet to save lives was a radical act that would make people mad.
That my suggested timing was unreasonable (lol — it would have taken me thirty minutes to do alone).
That orange barriers are ugly and “you know how this city cares about aesthetics.” (Lol, they already said no to cute wave delineators on the routes to the park — and you wanna know what’s really ugly? Ghost bikes. How ’bout we avoid those? But I’m just spitballin’ here.)
One city councilor (the one in my book who stood on the road where I was later almost killed and said she was afraid to ride a bike in this city), whom I’m guessing thought my little tiny obvious idea was actually happening, emailed to all six other city leaders that this was awesome and congratulated the city’s public works director. My question is: If you thought it was real, why isn’t it?
None of that matters anymore, however. Because the Hand of God Tree’s final finger fell.
And now, what’s next? What has my Higher Power been preparing me for? (Besides my delayed departure to Peace Corps, for which there are two upcoming Zoom meetings as the day gets closer when invitees will be deployed for the first time since COVID.)
I know I’ve particularly loved the international component of my time so far as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor (just as I did when I worked with CNN International and USA Today International during my career as a concept development specialist), and the relationships we are forging as global working groups.
I love showcasing people like the recent Bicycle Mayors of Canada profiles as part of my Meet series.
I love meeting Today’s Nice Stranger (three this week, which is a record during this pandemic).
I don’t really have the patience or interest in talking people into moving a frickin’ cone, or enduring the Cone of Silence. And so I am relieved that I no longer have to, that “success” to my Higher Power for me does not mean eliminating the greenwashing locally. There is another plan for that which I don’t know, and I am not part of it.
I am small, but I am strong, and I will not accept the gutter of failed imagination in this singular unrepeatable gift of time with which I have been given on this earth as steward of this body.
As always, I trust the journey and welcome the open road ahead. Perhaps you and I are even meant to cross paths and join forces to make a measurable difference.
Excerpt about the Hand of God Tree from my book:
There is a tree I call the Hand of God Tree. It originally had five big fat “fingers” hanging heavy over the Chattahoochee River but it’s down to three now after years of storms and age. The Chattahoochee, which means “river of painted rocks” to the Cherokees and “red rock” to the Creek Indians, both of whom were indigenous to this area, slips and slides rather secretly around the city of Atlanta, hidden in such a way that I would guess many folks who have lived here for many years have yet to lay eyes on it, or simply cross its murky brown waters, filled with Georgia’s famous red clay, while commuting to work on the highway. Even people who know of this national forest (which includes a meadow and wetlands) where I ride my bike have never seen the Hand of God Tree.
I go there when I need to. For years I think it’s because of the river or the tree or God, but today when I go, I think perhaps it’s because of the three-mile gravel road that takes me to the tree, the kind of gravel road that always takes me homeExcerpt from,Traveling at the Speed of Bike, available on Amazon in all global markets. I’m an indie author and your support is greatly appreciated. All proceeds from the sale of all books is donated to help more women and girls ride bikes. Currently, that means funding my ability to do Pedal Power with Pattie Basic Bike Skills Classes for Women and Teen Girls for free.