4.27.2007,8:06 PM
Sensorial Riding
On the way home tonight from the grocery store in town, I turned down a back road I 'thought' might lead home, or close to home. How close, I really wasn't concerned about. I had no idea where it led.

"“Go out into the woods, go out. If you don’t go out into the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.” - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
During this jaunt, this Long Way Home on the bike, I was reminded why I ride a bike.

The road curved this way and that; if I were of the mind to grab it and run, I would have opened the throttle more, leaning and flicking this way and that, following a line on the road which only I saw in my mind's eye.

But not tonight.

I rode at a slow pace, eyes sweeping the lush green lawns and pastures, low sprawling houses nestled under tall oaks, their branches sheltering them from winds and hot sun of Texas summers. The heavy scent of roses swam up my nostrils as I passed masses of light lavender flowers on old-fashioned rose shrubs draping over white rail fencing. This wasn't the sickly sweet smell of modern roses, but the welcoming gentle scent of old-fashioned roses rarely cultivated anymore.

I heard cows and their twilight noises as they meandered close together for the night, bedding down on the lush green carpet of their food. I rode over a narrow bridge covering a small creek and caught the many scents of teeming life clustered near and in our most precious resource: water. Now I was sheltered in a tunnel of tree branches draping over the road where light and shadows played hide and seek.

Riding further, my senses were bombarded by a plethora of changing odors: sweet-smelling wildflowers somewhere along the roadside that I could not see despite that my eyes tried to follow their source; then assaulted by the familiar odor of rotting flesh, grinning while I rattled off the proteins so aptly named for their association with death: cadaverine and putricine.

Approaching an intersection of two back country roads, I recognized the other as my own road where I lived. Smiling, I now knew not only where I was, but also had discovered a new road close by that was a joy to ride. And I knew I would ride it again, experiencing new smells, new sights, new sensations.

Now as I pulled onto my own gravel drive, I saw in my mirrors that the sun was setting in the western sky, a sight that I never tire of. Outside my door and in front of my house I am treated to the most magnificent view of the open western horizon, edged by rolling hills and framed by trees. Now that the pond is full of water, this view has its own reflecting pool.

Rather than pull directly onto the gravel pad near the house, this time I rode behind the house and faced the bike towards the west. The kickstand went down and gently Whee leaned on its leg until it was time to run again. Pulling off my helmet and gloves, they lay on the front cowl and I set my heels on the pegs, reached into my side bag and pulled out a yogurt that I had bought at the store.

The spoon I keep in my tank bag served it's purpose and I sat there on the bike, ate my yogurt, watching the sun paint colors across the western sky and reflected in the pond water. The growing tremolo of the crickets, frogs, and other night creatures always make me smile. And as I sat there amongst all of them, I felt a warm peace inside me grow and beam.

These are the reasons I ride a bike.
Because the sensorial experience reveals to me a reality I can't achieve anywhere else. This more-than-human mystery restores peace inside my soul and feeds my spirit. And provides me the ability to slip out of the perceptual boundaries that demarcate our present world; boundaries enforced by social customs, taboos, common speech and language.

It's almost like magic. Magic married with science; they walk hand in hand, and in harmony.
And I ride with that magic as my constant companion.

This is why I ride.

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posted by Macrobe
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