A Brief, Personel, Reflection

 I ride a bicycle. There, I said it, I’m a cyclist and have been for years. I enjoy the freedom of being out on the road, the wind in my face, the sound of the tires on the pavement, and being able to see things that I would miss had I been going by in a car. I’ve ridden in the heat and humidity of a New England summer as well as in the cold and snowy days of winter. Getting out as much as possible, doing anywhere between 35-50 miles on a daily basis, was and still is my goal and my future plans are to once again cross the country by bicycle.

 Cycling is a challenge, physically as well as mentally. Getting through a head wind, going up mountain roads, getting caught in a thunderstorm and negotiating streets and roads under construction, all have their own way of being a challenge. Yet, in spite of these barriers, in spite of the traffic and occasional difficulty, I still find cycling to be exhilarating and fun. 

 It is said that it’s not a question of “if you will have an accident” but “when will you have an accident”. Many cyclists can tell you about a crash, either self-induced or caused while racing or training for a race. Many can show you the scars caused by road rash on their legs and arms, especially the elbows and knees. Most crashes, result in no more than the discomfort of having the outer layer of your skin scrapped away by the pavement and then having to clean out the bits of gravel lodged into the wound. There’s nothing more fun than jumping into a shower after a crash and having to wash out the scrapes and scratches you came home with. Then again, there are more serious crashes. Cyclists have been maimed, some even killed, by distracted drivers and the cyclists own inattentiveness to their surroundings.

 A couple of years ago, on June 5, 2015, I had my accident. Sure, I had others, experienced the road rash wounds and the times when my cleats got stuck and I fell over, but this accident was a life changing experience. I was struck by someone opening their car door, without first looking to see if anyone was passing by them. It was the crash that got me writing more, mainly because I realized that life, my life, is tenuous.

 I know I’m not the only person ever to experience life changing events, however, this is my life changing event and it is one which I am still processing. In my writing, in my prose and poetry all of which is disjointed and in need of a good editor, I seek to delve into the deeper mystery that is self. Time and again, through what I write I’m seeking my true self, that person untarnished by the layers of life that have accumulated over the years. Yet, knowing that I will never recover what has been lost, I will never find that pure, true self lying embedded in the core of my soul. I dig into the tell of who I am, scrapping away the layers of dust and debris, of the loves lost and the loves gained, the heartbreak of living, which we all take part in and in which we all share. 

 Maybe I’m waxing a bit too philosophically, I’m not much of a philosopher, but I believe that inside each one of us is that unique story. Stories that need to be told, to be shared and talked about, to help us to heal from the fractures in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. 

 My accident resulted in a broken hip, that was surgically repaired with titanium nails by one of the best surgeons. Weeks in my bed at home, learning how to get up, walk up and down stairs, and months of physical therapy were all part of the process. 

 Now here I sit, on a hot July day in the midst of a heat wave, writing. Doing what I started doing days after the accident, trying again to delve into the mists of time and space, to find that hidden treasure, the one St. Paul claims we have hidden in “jars of clay.” Maybe that’s my own lesson, that no matter what, I am just that a simple jar made from clay and subject to being broken, physically as well as mentally. If we as people could only learn that each of us are simply clay pots subject to our own forms of decay, “you are dust and to dust you shall return”, maybe, just maybe, we might not be so ready to dismiss and judge. A dream, perhaps, but one worth writing about anyway.


Fourth of July

 Awoke early this morning with the sun just breaking over the horizon, the air cool with just a whisper of a breeze. I hear the familiar snapping sound as I click into the pedals of my bike and head out down my street. It is so quiet on this morning, hardly a car passes by me as I thread my way out onto roads I’ve ridden so many times. This is an introverts dream, a quiet ride with just one’s thoughts for company, no small talk, or noisy, gossipy people, just me and nature as I cycle along.  

On a bike I get to see things that are easily missed by those flying by in a car. I watch as birds fly through the branches of trees, the trees themselves a deep green, the sunlight filtering through, its rays reaching the ground like fingers of light. Smaller creatures scurry across the roads, little chipmunks seem to fly inches off the ground as they run by, their little tails standing upright. Squirrels, jumping from branches, chasing one another looking more like toddlers out in the playground playing tag. I even see the occasional deer, calmly walking along the side of the road, no worries of hunters yet on its mind. A small red fox comes flying out of the undergrowth, a freshly caught rabbit in its mouth, off, no doubt, to feed his growing clan. 

 Yes, it is the Fourth of July and later streets will be lined with spectators watching parades while in the backyards grills will be going as hot dogs as and burgers are cooked. Kids running around, laughing, swinging their arms in huge arcs while holding sparklers under the watchful eye of their parents. They create their own patterns, glowing, sparkling circles as they chase one another. Yet, right now, in this early morning, I’m alone. I do not feel lonely, in fact I feel more connected to the mystery that surrounds my life. This is my worship time, where my heart is opened and my prayers come easily. I am in communion with all that I see and feel. In this moment, I don’t feel that ache in my damaged hip, the hilly climbs do challenge but are not insurmountable, the bike and I are one machine, moving together ever forward.

 It is how I have taken life since being hit last year, moving forward rather than being mired in past events that seek to drag me under. I have all that I need, my deep and abiding faith in Gods grace as well as a lover who shares my life, who has stood by me through these difficult months. As I look at her, I feel complete, we are truly one flesh, one body in heart, mind and spirit. These are my thoughts as I ride, as I watch the sun climb up into the bright, cloudless, blue sky, as I feel myself getting stronger each day, heading back home to loves embrace.