LESSON FROM BHUTAN – THE GLOWWORM
I want to share the story of The Glowworm. Of learning to more release our individual nature. To work and care for each other. To act as one.
One night, in particular, we were going up and over a mountain pass. The sun was getting low, there wasn’t much light left and we had a long way to go. As we got higher, we entered into a dense cloud.
(Actually – we debated whether it was a cloud or fog. I was staunchly on Team Fog. My feet were on the ground. It felt like fog. Though Tony’s logic was hard to resist. Namely, that we were riding upward from toward 14,000 feet – so we had to be in the clouds. Fog was low to the ground. Since we were, indeed, on a mountain, I eventually I stopped resisting and joined Team Cloud.)
So here we were. Hours left of riding. Minutes worth of sunlight. Temperature dropping.
Eventually, between the darkness and the dense clouds, visibility was reduced to feet.
Constant, unseen corners lurked ahead. A mountain rising straight up on one side. A cliff dropping away steeply into darkness on the other.
Not ideal, though the reality of the situation we were in.
Sometimes the only way out is through.
And so we formed “The Glowworm”.
You see – while the first bike may only be able to see 15 feet ahead, each bike behind is able to see what the ones ahead illuminate. So the second can see 30. The third can see 45, and so on.
At first, it isn’t easy. Each person has a different rhythm. We ride differently. At different natural speeds. We corner differently. We cross obstacles differently. Imagine a symphony all playing a sheet of music at different speeds and volumes. It sounds chaotic.
As we begin to relax and ease into it, a common rhythm is found. Some speed up. Some slow down.
A harmony is formed. We begin flowing through corners and around obstacles in the same way.
Individual barriers soften. An unconscious bond is formed.
Rather than seven bikes moving independently, we begin to flow together. We begin to form something larger than the separate parts.
Imagine this. Rise a hundred feet above us and look down. You see the amber glow of seven headlights, each illuminating a small patch of road. Seemingly connected together. Flowing around an unseen path, carved in the side of the mountain. Moving with an organic beauty.
The Glowworm. Winding it’s way through the darkness.
It’s gorgeous to behold. It’s blissful to experience.
While some of us have entrained a program of doing things alone, there can be an ease and grace in doing it together.
We went on for hours that night, crossing multiple mountain passes. At one point it began snowing. Eventually we made it to our destination and were greeted with a big fire, a toasty room and a much deserved meal. Relief. A release of unconscious tension.
And yet afterward, I’m pleasantly haunted by the memory of us winding our way together. Knowing nothing but the road. Lost in the moment of a journey with friends.