Today I really, really, needed a change of pace. The grinding tedium of work has been bearing down on me; I needed something other than stealing a few hasty moments of feigned freedom ending up with me back at my desk again.
So I headed west up the river, following the canal as I often do; but this time I sought neither speed nor distance. I rolled along gently, casually, until I found the exact spot I was looking for. I stopped, shed my gear and walked up a small hillside, through dried brown grass withering in the September heat, into a grove of locust trees.
I sat in the grass and listened. But for the sound of the occasional passing car and the wind in the trees, it was quiet. I pulled off my boots, turned off my phone and blackberry, and dropped them into a boot; I rolled my jacket into a pillow and lay down on my back in the warm mottled shade.
How I got to this point in my life without having read “On The Road,” I’ll never know—just one of those oversights in my twisted, faulty intellectual development. But I started devouring it last night, a gift, and read many more chapters on my back under the locusts until the sun, like a lock-picker, wheedled its way through the greening locust canopy and seduced me to sleep.
I slept sun-dazzled under the locusts all too briefly, before reality and responsibility asserted themselves. This sojourn took less time than my typical frantic ride to escape, yet I returned feeling less desperate, less constrained. Maybe riding isn’t the be-all and end-all—it’s just the only avenue of escape I’ve thought of. I’ve come to rely on it as a crutch; after all, there are other things in life. Like reading a good book.
Maybe tomorrow I'll leave the bike behind, just take the book and find some shade somewhere.