Evolution: the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
Last week I was fortunate enough to ride my bike across the state of Nebraska, the state where I live. While that may not be on the top of everyone's list, it is an annual occurrence for me - a week of riding and testing my physical and emotional endurance, along with my spirit.
My first ride was 11 years ago, after I had recovered from brain surgery. I wasn't sure that I'd ever fully regain my balance, and I was so inspired by Lance Armstrong's story that I fixed my sights on an epic bicycle ride, just a little shorter in duration than the Tour de France, and a little closer to home. The Bike Ride Across Nebraska. I learned a lot that year. I completed every inch of the ride, often one of the last riders to reach evening camp. I cried, I laughed. I swore. I learned about my boundaries, both actual and perceived. I came back changed, never again to view myself in the same way as before.
This year's ride was a reacquaintance with the prairie that I love. Up close and personal. Fields of grasses moving as a wave on a nearly treeless plain. Bright magenta poppy mallows below my feet. Elders that began to bloom as the week proceeded. Yellow prairie clover for the start of the ride, newly blooming pale blue chicory at the end. All of them spectacular in their own way, for that brief moment in time. They continue, following a plan and a schedule beyond my comprehension, making me question - is there a plan and a schedule for me? Amidst the many distractions of everyday life, some trivial, some consuming, we have to rely on what exists at our core as momentum for progress, as that is the only part of the landscape that is under our control.
Prairie Star is participating in its own evolutionary growth. As different as life was a year ago, it will also be so a year from now. There are no guarantees in the rough environment of the prairie. It promotes resilience, flexibility, and unwavering focus on the goal. We don't know our exact path. Our evolution is fueled by the momentum produced by our mission. To educate the curious and interested. To provide access to the highest quality herbal products. To create a community where like-minded freely share their ideas and dreams. To empower those that participate to become expert caretakers of their own health and longevity. While our environment might be harsh, we know that is the only part of the landscape that is under our control.