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EPISODE 4: Bonnie cycles on

Host Todd Boss enlists the help of Indigenous poet Sasha LaPointe to motivate Bonnie on a journey of healing and discovery.

A note from Todd

Bonnie came to me with a simple request: she wanted me to write something that

would motivate her to get back on her bike

after an accident. The more we talked, the more it became clear that Bonnie's passion is twofold: she loves cycling, and she also loves the Skagit Valley of western Washington state, with a transcendent passion that borders on the sacred. I've visited the Skagit Valley, and I remember how glorious it is. But I sensed Bonnie wanted something deeper than another rhapsodizing loco-descriptive poem from someone who didn't understand it as well as she did. And so, in a TAPIT first, I invited Sasha LaPointe, a member of the Skagit and Nooksack tribes of the region, to guest write Bonnie's poem. Drawing on her own rich heritage, Sasha was able to deepen Bonnie's appreciation for her own home, and learn a new language of praise for its resonant beauty.

The Poem


by Sasha LaPointe

Winter comes to the valley

blanketing the world

hushed and grey

cold moons

are spent indoors


the moon to put your paddles away

pull the canoes onto the beach

this is the time for weaving

for making things

because this is the dying season

death settles and pulls

the leaves from their trees

like a dance like a ritual

of grief and ceremony

the land falling back

into hibernation

small waterways

quiet and frozen

but the tide is coming in

and a rush of wingspan

beats feathered knives

across the sky

a wind of swans returning

a formation that sings

I’m alive I’m alive

and now the river yawns

and wakes snow melts

down the mountains

blue herons dive

for blackmouth salmon

an alpaca is born

in the middle of a meadow

limbs loose and clumsy

its birth marks the moon

of the Salmonberry

when the earth stirs

and the huckleberries

are gathered while mothers

pick wild flowers


calls the world

into blooming

Red Sockeye

and new life

water rushing

and hawks sailing

over star shaped irises

that circle a fir tree

in prayer

this is the season

for celebration and movement

through days long with light

to embrace the time

as it cycles through

another moon

the final phase

Pədx̌ aʔx̌ aʔ

is for longhouse fires and storytelling

a time to learn from elders

this moon translated

means sacred


Bonnie responds

When I called you [Todd] to ask for a poem - I asked for something to inspire me. ... my own personal "Invictus." I was recovering from an injury and spiraling downwards. I was out of shape, de-conditioned, gaining weight and feeling depressed. After you let me know that you accepted my voicemail "pitch," I decided to prepare for your interviews by setting apart time to reflect on things that matter most to me, including the kind of person I want to be. And slowly, through the process of the interviews, I found my inspiration, not in a poem, but in myself. By participating in the process of listening, reflecting, and articulating the truest truths of my heart. I found I had the inspiration that I needed inside of me. It was there all along.

So when Sasha's poem came, it was a gift I could freely accept: a gift with no strings attached. I didn't feel the need for it to do more than any poem should be asked to do. I was able to just hold my open palms out to receive it, to let it speak to me, to enjoy its splendor just as it was. Enchanting and beautiful.

I am in Pədstəgʷad time. I am riding with the hawks and eagles, past the star shaped irises, in a place filled with prayers, first by the Coast Salish who knew it was a sacred place... I am alive! I am alive! For this is the season for celebration and light. I AM embracing the time, the moon, and the cycle that I am in. There is life and light and music in these words, and they drum rhythmically while I ride. I am alive! I am alive! I am alive! It just fits. It's just right. It's just me.

So I have gotten off the couch and back on my bike. I am averaging 100 miles a week. I have signed up for a (nearly) 200 mile ride… which starts in Seattle and ends in Vancouver BC and takes place over a 2 day period. My broken wrist has healed and I am getting lighter, stronger and faster. I am conditioned again, my legs are feeling strong again. I feel great!

But, just as Sasha's poem reminds me, this cycle, this moon, will someday come to an end and there will be another moon. The moon of Pədx̌ aʔx̌ aʔ. As all things are for bicyclists and mortals. We can't ride or live forever. Then it will be the final phase. But I am not there yet, and at least for now, I have more time before the next moon comes. And I am going to make every day matter. Because I'm alive! I'm alive!

Thank you, Todd. Thank you for giving Sasha the chance to write my poem. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your process. I am so honored and so grateful.


Special music for this episode, entitled Volcano Bicycle, was created by Nir Yaniv.

Click to give it a listen, and check out Nir's other tracks on SoundCloud.

You can find out more about guest poet Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe by visiting her website. To purchase her books, head to our merchandise page. If you're interested in commissioning your own poem from Sasha, click here.

If you think there's a poem in your story, leave us a message on our Haiku, Hawaii, guest line, at 808-300-0449.

Become a TAPIT insider by clicking here to join Todd’s Patreon followers for sneak peeks, outtakes, and other supplementary material.


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