Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter's Heart Dreaming of Spring

The miles pass by as I pedal on. Clipped in and on. The hills flow past, the sweat, the summer wind. I am almost there, fifty miles down - this trip a rare solo journey. Over the bridges in the woods, this one small rail trail - in this shade and by these brooks the temperature dips a few kind degrees. The worst hills will find me on the other end of this tiny section of solace. The hills I have had to walk up before will not win this time, I vow.

In this place the pain is less. Things aren't so great at home. It's not the same big problems like before, but sinister new ones that infect the spaces and the places that felt like home. And yet not. They have been with me always, just manifesting differently now than they used to. And so I pedal on.

The hills and the heat beg me stop. But in this pain, legs burning, lung yearning, I am purified. I am cleansed of all that came before, all that makes me lose my confidence, my sense of me.

In this space my imagination soars again, up into the cloudless blue sky. My solitary self upon the road free to be and dream and hope in ways that daily life does not afford me with its demands, its expectation, its endless hunger for efficiency.

Here the road is mine, the sky is mine, and my dreary self rejoices. I am revitalized. I am made whole again by this one simple act.

It is not that hope is gone, or that other things places and activities are less or less wonderful, less rejuvenating, or somehow tainted. It is not that the people I love are any less marvelous and wonderful, or that I lack gratitude for the fortune to know and love them. It is a different journey than that.

At the end of the day there is no one to wrestle my demons but me. I would not, I shall not compare them to anyone else's demons - you have yours and I mine - and we are allies and we help one another, but at the end of the day it's me and my demons.

And this is my favorite battlefield. For now, for me this is where my mettle is truly tested. It wasn't always this battleground, it may not always be this battleground, but for now this is the where.

The hills come, the pain comes. I arrive, those last few pedal strokes into the driveway and up to the porch where they are waiting, the most delicious reward. The embrace of a place. I have done it. I won the hills. I won over the demons in me. I am made anew and eagerly anticipate the ride back tomorrow, no matter what my legs feel now.

I sleep that rare sleep of true accomplishment. I awaken.

And I remember that it is winter. My heart yearns for the roads to come, in spring, in full bloom.

There is a little yearning pang of pain in my heart, for it is winter.

But winter always turns into spring.

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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License