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Entries in bicycle (12)

Sunday
Nov102013

Ten on Ten: Gear Day

I missed fall in the mountains this year because I've been traveling for most of the past six weeks.  I was lucky that one of those trips was both fun and soul food (more on that soon).  The group of lovely ladies I gathered with by the sea suggested we start a new Ten on Ten project, a perfect way to bring me back into this space that I've missed so much.

Winter has made its first overtures in the high country since I was last here. 

Winterizing our family apparently involves a frenzy of gear acquisition, starting with post-season mountain bike shopping to replace Will's bike that was stolen earlier this year.  (The gambit here is that if you're willing to buy a new bike and let it collect dust for six months before you can use it, you deserve 30 percent off.)

We're all itching to hit the slopes, and the snow has already started falling.  With Ezra growing like a weed, season ski rentals are the only rational approach to gear.  The minute we walked into the ski shop Ezra and I headed for the rental racks.

Ezra was so happy he refused to take his ski boots off for the rest of the day.

On the way home Will couldn't resist riding his new bike for the last five miles, even though it's straight uphill.

And ever his father's son, Ezra insisted on a short hike in his ski boots.

Welcome winter.  We're ready to play.

For more 10 on 10 goodness, head to see what Tara Romasanta has in store.

Wednesday
Jun192013

Death in Summer

The geese at the lake are aggressive at this time of year.  They hiss and squawk at the dog and me when we run by in the morning, warning us not to come any closer.  Downy little goslings toddle in line behind their fearful mamas.

A June Friday night calls us to the lake on our bikes, three in a row.  Will rides the funny swing bike he just found on Craigslist, the one Ezra giggles at and calls the wiggly bike.  Ezra just proudly sized up to his Big Bike, 16 inches of rolling speed demon, and I ride the beach cruiser gifted to me last year.  Every time I ride it - often this time of year - I think of Jackie in her new life on the West coast, and Dylan, gone too soon.

Freedom hangs in the lake air on Friday evening.  No cars to avoid on the bike path.  The smoke from the nearby wildfires has cleared in the summer breeze.  Swings that go higher on demand, 'til your stomach drops out, your hair blows back, and you squeal.  The weight of another week lifts away in the clear golden light.

On the ride home toward dinner and a date with the DVD player we stop under a tree.  I notice first the several geese nervously shifting their weight back and forth, huddling near their goslings.  One goose honks plaintively, hovering over a baby convulsing on the ground.  Will and I urge Ezra onward, but he can't be pulled away.

Ez, let's go!

Rooted.

I don't want to get a first-hand look at life and death on Friday night at the park, but I guess that's what's happening.  I park my bike and go crouch by him.  From here I can see the baby gosling's intestines in the dirt, the plaintive mother goose and the baby's last twitches.

Why does that baby have a hole in him? Ezra wants to know.

I think an animal got his mouth on him, I say, probably a dog.  You know how animals have predators?  Well I think one hurt that baby goose.

The mama goose honks and squawks.

Why is that big bird doing that?

That's the mama and she's so sad because her baby got hurt, I say and the baby's twitching slows.   That's what mamas do.  If you ever got hurt I would cry and cry and I wouldn't be able to go on, I add, before realizing I don't want him to identify too closely with the disemboweled chick.  But I won't let anything happen to you.  I silently pray that this is true.  Let's extend for a while longer the fiction that mamas have the power to protect our children from pain.

Isn't there a doctor that can fix the hole in him?

Ummm, I don't know of any goose doctor.

Why can't Daddy fix him?

Daddy's really good at a lot of things, but I don't think he knows how to fix that goose, I say.

The goose is still.

Ezra is quiet for a minute and then asks, When it dies, is it dead forever?

Exhale.  Yes.

Why?

Because that's how it works when you die, I say, wondering if this is really true.  I am mystified by this last breath, this single moment that is the fulcrum between being and no longer being, the tipping point from which there is no return.  You can be so alive and then... not, with barely a warning.

Sit down, my friend Chuck said when he called me four years ago.  Dylan died last night.  And suddenly I couldn't breathe.

My brother's friend went dirt biking in the desert last weekend and never came home.  Search crews found his bike, wrecked, and followed his footprints for a mile.  They found his body lying peacefully, hand on his heart, his brilliant blue eyes open to the vast sky.  He was so alive, and then he wasn't, his last breath scoured by the hot desert winds.

Ezra watches the still bird at the foot of the tree carefully.  The honking has died down too.

Do you want to say a little blessing for him?

We are both puzzled about how this works, but I try.

Great Spirit, I offer, please help guide this baby goose through the transition.  Please help him find a place with lots of water and no dogs and no pain, forever.

Somehow it is enough for Ezra and we get back on our bikes.  The evening caresses us on the rest of the ride home.  It is the perfect night to be alive.

Thursday
May022013

Freedom Rider

This happened this week.  Sunday morning Ezra said I want my bike.

And when I brought it out, he said I want to take the training wheels off.  So I got a wrench.

We removed two extra wheels, and Ezra grew wings.

Last night Ezra asked me what is "independent"?

I think he already knows.

Thursday
May102012

Three Minutes In The Dark

Babies can't put the bread in the toaster, because they will get burned.  Only big boys can do that.

Babies can't sit on the big potty, because they will fall in. I can do that because I'm a big boy.

Suddenly I notice that all of Ezra's shirts are too small.  Mind you, not because I observe it myself, but because he squeals when it is time to get dressed, demanding a floppy shirt.  One that wiggles.  I don't want that shirt.  That shirt is too tight.

I don't mind Ezra's hell-bent demonstrations of growing up.  I actually relish that he's not a baby any more.  But at night, after our torturously slow tooth brushing routine and our books and our what-was-your-favorite-thing-about-today, lately he asks, Will you lay with me in three minutes? 

And I do, because it's the quietest three minutes of the day.

Will gave me a necklace when Ezra was born, a thin gold chain with three small beads, one for each of us.  It has dangled there nearly every day since.  As soon as the infant Ezra gained any control of his extremities he found that necklace.  When he was nursing we sat in the blue rocking chair in his room a million times a day, and every time he latched his tiny little hand fluttered to my throat and clutched the necklace like a prayer mala.

(The other day he pointed to my breast and asked, Is that your belly? 

No, I said.  That's my breast.

What is it for?

When you were a baby it made milk and that's how you ate.

Oh.  He thought, pointed at one and then the other.  This one made milk and that one made water?)

So here we are in the big boy phase.  The other night lying next to him in three minutes, watching him sink into slowness, I felt the absentminded starfish of his big boy hand find its way to my necklace.  It was a happy jolt, jogging me into remembering those long, slow infant days. 

The gift, as we rush into Big, is this: our former selves and all our time together, all of it, is encoded into our muscle memories in a place beyond knowing.

Wednesday
Apr182012

A Love Letter

Dear Dylan,

I can't believe next week marks three years since you've been gone. When you called me a few years earlier to confess that you'd fallen off the wagon I didn't realize it was the beginning of the end.  I had always known you as a sober person and I assumed this was an unfortunate bump in the road, but that you'd be back on track, say, the next day.  I didn't know that the wheels were starting to come off.  I didn't understand that all those years when you seemed okay, your demons were still there, under the surface, gaining strength.  I didn't understand anything.

When I think about how absent I was from your life at the end, so wound up in pregnancy and having a new baby, I feel so sad.  I know I couldn't have changed anything for you, but I wonder if I could have just gotten a little bit more of you.  Jackie told me things got pretty bad, that you were in the grip of self destruction and despair, so maybe it's a gift that I don't remember you that way.

I usually think of you when I'm in the car listening to music, but that might be because it's the only place I tend to be alone with my thoughts.  You also always come to mind when I'm chasing a tele-skier down a slope that's a little beyond me (this has become a theme in my life, but you were the first and the most demanding), or when I get on the old mountain bike you sold me when you became a partner in the bike shop. When I go hear shows at Red Rocks you are with me and I can't listen to David Byrne any more without thinking about the time that you got me backstage at the Fillmore to meet him. 

I feel so lucky to have shared the years of friendship with you and Jackie that I did.  I was such a kid when I started working with Jackie that it's a wonder she didn't roll her eyes and mock me mercilessly for my endless follies.  But she didn't.  She laughed with me, and she invited me into your lives and made me the approved girlfriend, an appropriate companion for the things you loved that she didn't, like skiing and listening to jam bands play live shows.  I hope I was good company for the things we all loved to do together too, like four straight seasons of Sunday night potlucks at your house watching every episode of Six Feet Under that ever aired.

I found myself wondering recently, during one of my Dylan reveries in the car, if you're here at all anymore.  The grief we all shared immediately after you died made you feel so present to me.  But coming up on three years without you, you were starting to feel distant and faint.  When Jackie e-mailed me to ask if I wanted the cruiser you gave her it was like a jolt.  When I saw the bike for the first time I laughed out loud for the joy of it.

Dylan, this bike is the most perfect gift I could imagine.  It just feels so you, from the outrageous color to the skull-and-crossbones valve stem caps.  Riding it makes me feel close to you and to Jackie and to all the times we shared together.  It also makes me hopeful for the colorful and inspired future I am calling forth every day.  This bike is the vehicle I'm taking to that place, so thanks for that.

I made this little film for Jackie, but also for you, to show you just how much I love your bike.  Since you loved good design and the coolest people, I'm imagining you and Jerry Garcia and Steve Jobs huddled up in a corner around an iPad watching this.  (You would have LOVED the high-def iPad, Dyllie.  Wish you could have stuck around to see it.)

Miss you so.

Love,

Corinna