Saturday, June 16, 2007

A roadside garden

A pond in Old Mystic

Flowers on River Road

Oh, I had some marvelous bike rides these last two days. Yesterday I covered about 40 miles, cruising quietly along our charming country roads. I wasn’t out to break any records or prove myself; I just wanted to feel the ease and smoothness of riding through a beautiful landscape on a fine bike. Since the bicycle seemed to do all the work, it was almost an effortless few hours.I recall noticing the shadows most of all. (I often focus my attention on one specific aspect of the scenery – shadows, doors on houses, shades of green, etc.) As I rode along, I realized there is a sense of heaviness, of solidity, almost of strength, in shadows. As I approached the shadows in the road from immense trees, it was almost as if I was entering material “things”, weighty objects that had mass and power. The landscape seemed filled with these dark presences.

This morning, I started out extra early, around 4:40, because I wanted to say goodbye to a group of my students who were departing from school for a 10-day trip to Japan. I rode in the near-darkness for a while, with my red light flashing behind me and the earliest birds doing their first songs in the trees. I love that time of morning for riding. The world is new born. The streets seem fresh and perfect, and my bike seems to speed along with unaccustomed grace. I said goodbye to the kids in the parking lot, and then rode over to Mystic, past the awakening coves and inlets, and enjoyed hot coffee, a bagel, and the sports section of the paper at a cafe. Then, it was back down Route 1 to Westerly along still sleepy streets. I was back in my apartment by 7:00 am, ready to start in on my daily writing projects.

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