Sunday evening, and I sit in my comfy chair by the window listening to the song of the catbird in the velvety darkness. My legs propped on the ottoman, I can feel the sweet ache in their muscles from the miles I spent on my bike this weekend. A guy from the north could get real spoiled with an Appalachian Spring like this. Pedaling through the bright sunlight, drinking in the sight of a world gone green, I have to keep reminding myself that it is March, and not late April or May.
I close my eyes, and inhale the sweet night air. If the color green had a smell, this would be it. As a child I would lay on my back in the soft tufts of grass in our backyard, listening to the cooing of the mourning doves, feeling the cool evening air as the sky darkened above me, and the world came alive. Reaching out with my hands I would run my fingers through the grass, and feel the cold, soft earth beneath it. I felt as if I could plant them like roots in the loamy soil, and drink in the life like a maple. A modern day Rip Van Winkle.
Life seemed to stretch like an endless road in front of me. Each evening when I had finished dinner, I would throw a leg over my ten speed, and pedal out into the countryside. Across the furrowed fields, and through the greening woods, I would lose myself in grand day dreams. Nothing in the world is more heroic than the fantasies of a 13 year old boy. That ten speed was my freedom and escape from the anxieties of youth. Out on those empty farm roads there were no bullies to embarrass me and no girls to make me tongue tied. Out on that bike I could be anything I wanted.
I thought of that today as I crested a climb, my lungs burning, and my legs aching, and realized that for the last 4 miles I had been absorbed in day dreams so deep, I could recall nothing of the world around me. For those four miles I may as well have been a 13 year old boy, instead of a 43 year old man. The road raced under my wheels, and the sunlight glittered on the lake, and I could have been anywhere I wanted to be at that very moment. Yet nowhere could have been as satisfying as being astride that saddle, and that steel frame. A shadow passed over the road, and looking up I saw the silhouette of a Hawk against the blue sky. Thirty years disappeared in an instant, and for that one brief moment I too was soaring.