To My Gorge Gals,
When I first moved to the Gorge I knew one person. He was gonna be my husband. And he lived with these 2 other people, a girl and boy. And also their dog. And I can remember one day, early on, coming over and learning that the girl was out on a bike ride with a bunch of other girls. I think the guys even said “she’s out on a girls’ ride.” And my tomboy-self puffed up its chest, put its hands on its hips and thought, oh hell no. When I move out here and marry this dude, I am not going to be relegated to going on girls’ rides, I am going to ride with the boys! And for awhile, that was the way it was. Partly because hubby-to-be was teaching me to ride and partly because, well, I didn’t know anyone else.
But things happen and times change and, thankfully, so do people.
I have started this letter many times in my head. I’ve even said some of it out loud. But mostly, I’ve just thought it – usually while riding my mountain bike on a girls ride.
I moved here to marry a manly-nerd. A rare and incredible breed of man that happens to congregate in the Gorge. What I didn’t expect, was to also fall in love with Gorge Women. Where have you been all my life?! You too, are a incredible breed of human. Full of a vim and vigor that has inspired me. And humbled me.
Gorge women are powerful women. You blow snot rockets, wear dirty bike shorts, slaughter goats, and make good bread. Gorge women value a badass bike climb, an early morning run, or the strength to say whoa, what’s up with all this exercising? I just want a beer. You have scars with stories and dreams of more to come. You have taught me that garlic doesn’t come in jars and that there is more to dinner than mac and cheese…though I sometimes still wonder why.
You are bold and brave, but still somehow humble. You give me shit, and make me lattes and muffins, are patient when I drink all your wine, and bring me gas on the side of the road. You’ve had grace with me, even when I didn’t do that for myself. And have dropped everything to support me and my family when I wasn’t feeling strong. I’ve watched you show your vulnerabilities and share your fears – and that has taught me to try and do the same, because I knew I’d be safe. You are moms and partners and professionals, or some combination of all three. And we have struggled and wondered together, at how this all works.
You somehow manage to be strong and independent, yet so quick to draw someone in, and to nurture. I have learned to nurture, because of you. You have handed me stiff drinks, folded my laundry, taught me about nature, made me think, and made me laugh – big, hearty, pee-your-pants kinds of laughs – which, may now be easier since having kids. And you have forgiven me, or will eventually, I hope, for putting such oozy, sentimental, cheesiness down in writing to you.
And – we have gone on rides. Girls rides. Oh, and they have made me feel high. Giddy with adrenaline at what I have learned and at what we can do together.
With much love to you all,