At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Road

Summer arrived early this year.  By that I mean summer cart-wheeled, pom-poms twirling, smack dab into winter’s rump.  Three months early.  Caught me (everyone) by surprise.  We mid-westerners rubbed our eyes in disbelief.  Gob-smacked.  Laughter and gaiety ensued.  Gawd!  She’s so magnificent.

What is one to do but saddle up and revel? 

And that is what I did.  Pulled the jersey from the hanger.  Squeezed into lycra shorts (fitting a bit more snug than I remembered), donned helmet and gloves, pumped up the tires and ventured forth on bewildered legs.

I hadn’t planned on pushing pedals in early March.  Hadn’t planned on venturing farther into the hinterlands by April’s end than I had by mid-July of last year.  I rode amazed.  Pedaled slightly daft.  Spinned my wheels through landscapes each and all waking astonished. 

Never experienced anything near like this.  Mouth agape, I swallowed way too many insects every bit as disoriented as I.  Nature had erupted in an orgy of buds and blossoms.  Almost overnight, my world morphed to fragrant green.

I was deafened by the chorus frogs/spring peepers.  Hawks dotted the skies, soaring and cavorting.  Redwing blackbirds rushed to stake their claims.   Though farm fields remained dusty brown, they hummed with anticipation.  Livestock felt it, too.  They didn’t graze complacently.  Noses raised to Heaven, they twitched their tails in glee.

It’s been surreal, this bacchanalia.  I asked more of my muscles than prudence cautioned.  I couldn’t help myself.  I knew there would be a price to pay.  But I also knew this opportunity couldn’t last.  Carpe diem.  There would be cold days still.  Soon.  Nothing this amazing can persist.  I would rest when the cool rains came.

I’ve ridden long and hard.  All in the name of Amazement.  I sport the crazy tan lines of a cyclist:  pale forehead, tanned cheeks, vanilla thighs, chocolate knees, white feet, white palms and dark fingertips.  I’ve been buffeted by gusty winds, blinded by unseasonable sweat.  All in the name of Pleasure.  I even found myself pedaling through a dense cloud of honey bees.  Bees bounced off my face and helmet, bees bounced off my arms and legs.  Bees clung to me and my front fork.  It’s been a crazy season.  Not a single sting.

I ended my last ride yesterday with a nasty crash.  I hadn’t realized how much I had exhausted my legs on the longest ride of this utterly improbable season.  Legs cramping, I failed to disengage from pedals when a car roared forward in front of me.  I fell hard to ground, right hip bearing the brunt.  Bruised and bleeding, hip screaming, I soberly rose, saddled up, pedaled slowly home.

I didn’t cry.   No need for tears.

I've been happy.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Regarding My Tears

My last entry elicited a number of consoling responses.  That didn’t surprise me one bit.  You, Dear Readers, have long endeared yourselves to me.  How can one not be touched by those who so sweetly and generously offer consolation so readily?

It’s true, I’ve been rather quiet of late.  There’s no point in hiding from the fact that winter drear hangs heavily on a melancholic such as I.  It has taken me a goodly number of years to comprehend depression.  I’ve learned to cope...for the most part.  But there will always be that elemental impulse to withdraw into solitude when days grow dark and chill.

It’s been just over six months since Amazing Woman died.  Cold rain fell.  Days grew short.  Came the bitter freeze.  In the months that followed, more friends lost those whom they held dear.  All this is to be expected in the seventh decade when close friends are every bit as grizzled and frayed as I.

I attended a wedding in January.  Lost an aunt in March.  Fretted my way through the “stolen car incident” and shed a tear when Sylvie, my funky, furry little Ghandi, breathed her last.

I've cried.

The point I wish to make is that I rarely cry from self-pity or personal wounds.  I couldn’t say that a half-decade ago.  But those days are fading in my rear-view mirror.  This heart of mine, chambers once over-flowing with razor blades and shards of glass, was immolated in a cauldron of my own devise (though other hands often stoked the fire).  What poured from the crucible was new material, something somewhat purified, material to be forged and tempered.  This process of forging and tempering continues, but I’ve no cause to scream...or cry.    

Janis sang: “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the notion decades ago.  I get it now. 

Nowadays I mostly cry for others.  I cry for Amazing Woman’s son, for those she strived to teach and help.  I cry for friends who’ve lost cherished family members.  I cry for my uncle, left stranded and struggling in his ninth decade.  I cry for the bereft and forlorn.  I cry for the gentle animal soul, and the young couple embarking on a life together, blissfully unaware of the challenges to come.

Much as I revel in hugs (and I most assuredly do), know that I cry for reasons poignant, for all that must be acknowledged, respected and revered.

* * *

Friday, April 20, 2012

Self Portrait

It's me.

I've mentioned before
I yearn to strip
To "truth and bone"

I nailed the bone part
Still working on that truth bit

I like this portrait
It's an "edgy" look
Kinda like those mandibles
The crowns?
Not so much

This is me
All elemental

What you can't see
Are the tears

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