It does not seem that my various mishaps here in Taiwan have made me apprehensive about exploring or taking risks. I think this is a good thing. For example, on a recent bike ride, I found construction blocking the bike path and signs that may or may not have meant “go this way to follow detour.” I decided to risk it.
Before I go further, let me make it clear that NOTHING traumatic or terribly exciting happened! The detour actually proceeded without a hitch on the way out. None of the loose dogs even raised an eyebrow. (unlike when I walked Greg’s bike home) I soon found myself passing a trickle of other bike riders heading in the opposite direction, verifying my “interpretation” of the signs:
I would like to mention that these were NOT the only signs on the road, by far, so deciding which to follow was not as obvious as the picture might make it seem. 🙂 However, I have since learned that, roughly translated, it means “go this way by yourself.”
The detour was not the shortest distance between two points, having a variety of twists and turns, passing through back street workshop areas and then rice fields. A few cars whizzed by, giving the impression that they were used to open roads back there. Since time passes differently when I am not sure where I am or if I’m getting where I’m going, and I didn’t look at my watch, I don’t know how long the detour took, but I estimate 15 minutes. Then, voila! I was back at the bike path, cruising a section I had ridden on before. I decided that I must take some photos on the way back, being amused by things like the taxi drivers fishing…
an refreshed by the lush green and vines in bloom –
When I reached Guandu Temple, I decided to head toward home. That makes the ride just over an hour long.
This is a large temple, so it takes more than one photo to give a sense of it. First is a picture of its center region:
Then looking right –
I pondered for a moment that the MRT station that Carlie and I got lost getting out of is near and named after this temple. That possibly has metaphorical connotations…. The portion of bike path I crashed on is just north of here. So, I began to get a sense of connecting dots. “My” section of the city and region were growing.
There was a slight drizzle from the clouds obscuring the horizon, but when I turned around I could see the colorful tower. It was comforting and familiar.
Some of the ramshackle buildings seemed strangely picturesque and wild so close to the city. They also cause one to consider how quickly the jungle here could overtake the civilization.
Then I passed the horses.
The place below is also right next to the bike path, very close to city life. It looked lived in.
Then it was time to try the detour on the way back –
I saw the same rice fields:
This garden was just across from the field –
After a little bit, I came to this beautiful yard:
Growing under a major overpass!
I thought, “How strange that I would not have noticed such a lovely garden on my ride out.” After a couple of admiring comments to the lady tending it, I headed up the road… Within a few yards I was at a street that I KNEW I hadn’t crossed before. It was a busy multi-lane highway. Where had I gone wrong?
I turned around and spotted my tower again. It wasn’t too far away. The blue-green overpass (that you can see in the photo above) indicated I was near a section of the bike path. To my relief, I only had to back track a couple of turns and a few hundred feet. From this direction, the bike path was more obvious. It heads right under the blue-green highway for a 1/4 mile. That was basically the same location where I began to breathe more easily when walking Greg’s bike home.
If you look at the map below, the pink line indicates my bike ride of account today. The purple line shows where I think I walked with Greg’s bike. That walk took over 1 and 1/2 hours. I’ve been plenty of other places in Taipei and Taiwan, some on the map, some beyond, but these lines all represent detours of some sort or another.
Today’s detour made me think. I was quite glad that I had missed my turn and had opportunity to experience that beautiful garden. The other “detours” were less painless, but they brought beauty of their own. Our relationships and experiences are deeper because of them. We have walked with God on paths that he knew were there and he has been quite able to get us where we are supposed to be going.