I left Trinidad and I am on my way to Eureka. The suggested route takes me to a bike path, and that’s where I meet Taylor, who is out there biking to get some exercise. She lives nearby, in Arcata, where she goes to college.
We start talking and she tells me that she will double major in Marine Biology and Zoology, and that she is applying for a program with NOOA in which she will spend 3 years on a ship doing research. She also tells me that she has been cycling now but that until recently she dedicated herself to synchronized swimming. She was a top athlete, competing and winning national meets, but she is not into it anymore. I just listen with admiration. There are so many good kids in this world!!!
I ask her about the meaning of life. She hesitates, so I add… “Well, I should not ask what the meaning of life is. I should ask, ‘what makes life meaningful?'” She responds, “Life is good when I am with my friends, and when we have fun together… when we play, and we dance, and we sing together.” I reflect that we are here to connect, make friends, and have fun together in this playground. Period. This is the meaning of life. Puzzle solved. Taylor, the Great Philosopher, just unveiled the greatest mystery of life. Now everyone knows that the meaning of life really is.
She tells me that she is 20 years old, and I tell her that Mateus is turning 20 today. We talk about him and I tell her the great sense of accomplishment my boys have given me. “I feel that there is no better way to make the world a better place than to leave human beings who are better than you behind. Bringing up people that are better than you is the greatest contribution anyone can give to the world,” I said with unrestrained pride, sincerity, joy, and humility.
She took me to bike paths and streets that weren’t in my map. We passed McKinleyville through the Clam Beach County Park and the Hammond Trail.
She showed me the California Poppy, the official flower of California, and taught me that it is against the law to pick them up.
I can’t describe how pleasurable that bike ride into Arcata was and what a radiant human being Taylor is.
She invited me to come to her house, and that’s where we are heading to. I have a big smile on my face.