Friday, December 5, 2008

Get Your Head In The Clouds

It was the worst of days. The world refused to break into glorious wintry turmoil but neither would it offer a smile of sunlight from its gloomy face. It was cold. It wasn’t the kind of freeze in which one can find comfort in the beauty of survival and nature's grandeur. No, this day was the kind that hovered just at the raw edge of dreary existence. There was no glory to be had or promise other than that of discomfort.

Still, the schedule (despite plans otherwise) opened itself and I found myself passing ole Mud Pike on the way for lunch and then Grimplet pick-up. The trainer was in the trunk and Ernestina was on the roof. She was relieved to have been spared a shackling for lunch but still quivered up there at the prospect of my finally beating back Somnus and tying her to the garage floor whilst everyone else sleeps. Her front wheel shifted on the wet rack and turned towards the east.

Out there, just beyond a sea of gloom, the mountain’s top enveloped itself in low ceiling. It was all mystery, wrapped in clouds, an uncomfortable gift from your estranged lover. There was fear. All hell could break loose in the unwrapping, gloom piled upon gloom. There was hope. Pushing aside the pillowy tissue might reveal something wonderful, renewing.

The only way to get started in pouring, just above freezing, glass after glass of ice water over the head, rain is to just take it head on. Forget about “warming up” and all that. Earnestina and I hit the hill like wild bull and savage rider, spitting bile as we cut through the murk. Oh, could the incoherent grumbling and discourse have been made decipherable—

At times like these you can take the mountain on in such a way as to suck out the venom. Bearing down, nose to the rivet, one can use the pain like a buck knife, carving bloody crosses across the wounds and sucking it all out. Soon the world contracts to a senseless orb, no cold, no icy rain, all contracting quadriceps and pounding heart, brain unseated from its throne. It was thus we rode, ignoring Bill Murray’s admonitions to the groundhog (that one was for you, Musie).

And then there it was, the shiny red bike, the Xbox, the diamond ring. In the space between the heavens and the corner of some sodden field (that was for you MonkeyButt) on a break in the grade, the senses blinked back on in a field of white. I don’t know what it is about crossing the snow line on a bike. Maybe it’s the solitude, the sernity, the graphic display that change happens, the thrill of treading the untrodden, the feeling of moving nature and her seasons, by force of will? Maybe it’s as simple as the pretty white show? Whatever it is the snow line always hits my tired soul like a cleansing wave.

Ah, up there in the clouds, alone, without my thoughts, in a sea of brilliant white noise. Like a dream, it sorts out the days events, clears the mind, strengthens the body, preserves the sanity. Why would anyone confine themselves to rolling along the bottom, never lifting their head? We spend so much of our lives spinning away, over the same old ground, that we never change cadence. We ride around the hills, sucking each other’s wheels, crowded into the stifling echelon, hiding from the wind. We duck under the simple act of being happy. I wanted to stay off the mountain, but I couldn’t—shouldn’t

In less than 1.5 hours I am down the mountain and back in the gloom. Thing is, the gloom is not so bad. I take the time to race about the puddles and delight the gawking drivers, some of whom actually stop to see the spectacle. The little hills that caused so much strain, slide under humming tires. I laugh a bit. There is something to be said for getting your head in the clouds sometimes.


bluecolnago said...

welcome back!

very well said!

Craig, The Flanders Fat Cat said...

Thanks. It will be spotty but, gotta do it, no? What's the sense if you can't make yourself happy. We'd be nothing better than bacterium.

You should put up a post some time.