Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I've been a bit busy, first with that jury duty, then a trip out of town and today (my birthday) with a root canal (and glad I was to receive it)!

So I will try to write something fresh soon. For now, here's an excerpt from my essay that appears in the book, Bicycle Love:

Whether I knew or was deceived, whether by my fault or society's, the fact remains: I had become a captive of my car. It determined my path and separated me from the great outdoors.

But now, now I am free. And it was a bicycle that led me to liberty. My cage door has opened and outside, amid the sunshine, trees, grass and fresh air, a $20 beat-up bicycle bade me come into the presence of this world and share in its pleasant grace.

Now, when I need to get from home to work, I open my house door, roll my bike out into my neighborhood and greet the little girl next door waiting to go to school. I pedal along the streets of my city, enjoying the tree-lined urban setting, old brick houses on either side, history rolling past.

As I head north through downtown, I can make my way down to the river and bike along the riverfront. I can zoom along rapturously embracing the glory of the day, moving at just the right pace. I can get to work just as quickly as I could in a car, but the journey is entirely different.

When cycling, I move at a speed that gets me where I need to go promptly enough, and yet slowly enough that I can watch the mallards swimming in pairs on the Ohio River.

I can watch downstream as an elegant great blue heron slowly stretches and leaps to the air, filling the city with feathered grace unknown to all but me.

When I travel by bike, I know the earth in a way that was lost to me while driving blindly around in my car. I can truly know the delight and challenge of each season as the year spins like a grand wheel.

On my bicycle, I can embrace the coming spring, and revel in the newborn daffodil and crocuses as they colorfully bid winter goodbye. I can laugh at the tickle of a sweet honeysuckle-scented shower.

On my bicycle, I can know fully the heat of a humid August day and accept it as evidence that I am alive in this world. I can appreciate the cool escape of an early morning ride through Louisville's summer, mocking the fever of the soon-rising sun.

On my bicycle, I can rattle through autumn leaves lying on the street, scattering crisp joy as I ride. I can race the sparrows, darting out of bushes as I surprise them into flight.

On my bicycle, I can breathe deep frigid winter breaths, exhaling my own clear clean exhaust into a bright December sky. It can be cold and I can dress warmly and it is okay... By biking, I've found my place in this beautiful fragile wild world and been made whole.

I've entered into the community that I was never truly apart from except in prisons of my own creation. In traveling this path, I've had to move deliberately in a direction opposite from the norm and accepted wisdom, but I've not been alone. I ride upstream with all of nature and the goodwill of friends who wish to break away from the foolishness of humanity.

On my bicycle, I've found freedom and more. With my two-wheeled connection to the world, I've no reason ever to be caged again, and that's been my salvation.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Happy birthday Dan! Our b-days are pretty close-mine was Sunday.