"On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points." --Virginia Woolf
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Poems about riding my bike yesterday
I was scared to ride the bike at that moment There are just some things you're not supposed to do with a full stomach, like swimming and jumping jacks and all things fun. Mothers like to threaten us with promises of cramps making us think about our stomach and its needs. In the same way, friends now threaten me re: my helmetless ways. But I don't want to see the point in it. Wearing a helmet steals my freedom. Nothing but a death grip.
I left the grocery store with a plastic bag hanging on handlebars In it a pint of milk, bread and strawberries. I made my exit and the Hare Krishnas were chanting but it only clashed against the white noise of a bustling city street. I wanted them to stop, they made me nervous with their stares and unsolicited public demonstration of faith. A friend was mugged by a Hare Krishna in DC years ago. I made my getaway, and the bag got caught in the spokes. The carton sprung a leak, and the milk sprayed at 360 degrees. I stopped in the street, took it out, and left it leaking next to the Krishnas. Their stares now directed towards the milk, they went silent. I win.
I've had a beer, at a pub, alone and with a book. I've hopped on the bicycle, a little more confident than I should be. The wind feels cooler through my hair, I have more strength to charge the hills. I'll be home soon, and the journey will be more of a blur than usual. I'm on my street, just one block away. And a car door swings open, blocking my path. In a flash, I am filled with terror and let out a scream. The woman in the Honda is Asian. She must be, because when she yells it's like a Bruce Lee scream. I've swerved well, and I think: boy is she lucky. My hospital bill would've been huge.
I am uncommonly mobile; I have circumnavigated the globe eight times, walking amazing distances. Through the South Island of New Zealand to the Southern Alps. From Chile to the Andes in Argentina. Across the Serengeti in Africa. I made 300 ascents of mountains 10,000 ft. tall or more, including the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Kilimanjaro. I traveled alone, aided only by my porters, sketching volcanos and collecting wildflowers along the way.