Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Your Rails Have Always Outrun Mine

Beyond my well-toned cocktail shaker muscles, I'm not the athletic sort. I blame this mostly on my indoor family that also was decidedly non-sporting, unless pipe smoking has made it to the list of noble pursuits. My favorite event as a kid was to add another title to my Conquering Bookmark (I really called it that, twit that I was, your call on still am) after I finished a book. I did run in high school, mostly because the running coach was a kind of cult leader who taught us as much about narcissistic distortion as good breathing, and listening to him was fascinating. They came up with the idea that since I wasn't fast, I should run longer. This is how I ran two marathons by the time I was 18. This is why I don't feel like I have to run anymore, as I got it out of the way early.

Now I bike, some. Not quite enough for an ever-aging, ever-widening, part-time food writer (praise the lord it's not a full-time job), but some. I mean, it's Santa Barbara, where a cold morning is 40 and that happens a couple times a winter. And it doesn't rain over half the year. And we have no water, but this is about me, dammit, so if you want your ecological non-navel-gazing, go elsewhere. Just leave enough rain so not too much of the beautiful scenery burns down before I can bike through it.

Of late the hope is to have a bit of the mystic moment on the one long, not steep downhill on the way into work. It's alongside cars, so it's not that spiritual, but sometimes there's this sense of click, and I don't mean my bike needs a tune-up. I mean that the bike is sort of riding me and I'm not riding it, that I finally latch into that perfect gear when the wheel speed--that is real speed--and my legs all just synch so I work but it's nothing, it is exactly what is supposed to be is. Not even the moment when the trees hang too low and even ducking means they zip across the top of my helmet breaks it, if it happens, when.

Of course it's not long, and the desire for more speed makes it shorter. Of course I want it, and then force fucks everything up.

But it's nice to know it's there, that going downhill can be something to be loved. Cause I'm going downhill anyway.

(3 of 31 in the drive to 2500)



Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

Wow... I've never really appreciated that hill before. Lovely...

2:05 PM  
Blogger George said...

And of course it did hit me that the cadence I closed with is probably a deep memory plagiarism from the gorgeous end of Rilke's "Duino Elegies."

But I am so going to write a blog entry titled "Letters from a Middle-Aged Dead Poet" someday.

10:35 PM  
Blogger George said...

Oh, and Rilke never quoted Neko Case in one of his titles. So there, smarty pants famous Czech.

(We Slovaks are notoriously bitter. And drunk.)

10:39 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

We all are, and coasting fast. Here's to Rilke and riding and, just now, Ted Kennedy.

11:23 PM  

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