Friday, June 14, 2013

Floods and Flowers

A ride that starts with mild rain, luring me out, ambushes with a downpour. I am too far out now to turn back. Might as well keep going.

This is all right. My tires slice through puddles.

Rain, rain, pouring rain. Drumming against my helmet. Dripping from my visor. This is okay. This is rather peaceful. The roads are all mine.

Meadow, meadow, forest, farm. Farm, farm, forest.

But darn, what's this. Country road, traffic backed up around the bend. I pedal carefully along the shoulder.

Endless line of cars, deep puddles, feet clipped in, water pouring down my face off the soggy visor, thinking "This is crazy," feeling calm, humming to myself.

A woman driver in a pickup rolls down her window. She points to my bike, then points to the back of her truck. I half-raise my hand in a half-wave like "I'm good, thanks." She shakes her head and smiles. I pass her in traffic.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Rain, rain, rain. Cars, cars. Honking. Brake lights.

Two teenage boys in a Jeep roll down their window and lean over. "Cool bike! Cool braids!" Thumbs up to me from the teenage boys.

There is a soggy book on the grassy side of the road. Tossed by a kid out of a car window? Kittens on the cover. Bloated, wet kittens.

Let's see, what is going on at the front of all this backed up traffic...

A broken light. A ditch at the intersection filled with deep water. The bigger cars rolling though it slowly. The smaller cars frantically flashing their signals, making U-turns.

I pass them all and turn right. No one else wants to go there. What's wrong with right?

No matter. An end to the chaos. A silent empty road. Trees, trees. Darkness at noon. Streams of water across the pavement. Rain.

This is okay. This is all right. This is rather peaceful. The road is all mine. My shoe touches water on the downstroke.

And then I smell the flowers. A deep, heavy scent, almost an odor. The raindrops carry it, like perfume oil. A low-hanging branch of blossoms. I grab it and pedal home.

My bike is upside down in the kitchen. My flower, my prize is on the table. The rain has stopped, like none of it had ever happened. But water droplets glisten on the petals. And on the pedals.

21 comments:

  1. what flowers are those? so pretty!

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    Replies
    1. I was hoping someone would tell me : )

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    2. pink scotch broom

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    3. Ah thanks. I've only seen those in yellow before.

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  2. I love those kind of rides

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  3. Only poetry like this faithfully captures the cycling experience in full, at least for me. Lovely!

    On a side note, Bloated Kittens would make a great band name.

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  4. Great blog. I felt like I could feel the rain
    and smell the flowers.

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  5. A magic moment... Seems like I hadn't read this kind of post for a while, or am I wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Click on the "stories" tab for posts in this category.

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  6. Good one.

    You draining the bb?

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  7. I assume you still bicycle to your painting studio so how 'bout a post showing how cycling has informed or influenced the mark making or content or your art?

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    1. I don't think cycling itself has informed or influenced the mark making or content. But the blog has influenced my thoughts on the role of audience in shaping both process and content. It's a little complicated to go into here, but maybe it's a topic I could tackle in the future.

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  8. not specifically related to your post, but this bike has caught my eye a couple times in the last month and today i met him at a stop sign. a beauty of a transpiration bike in my fair city....not exactly a flower, but this will cope with rain quite well....

    http://www.fecycles.com/bikes/road/131-gt40-singlespeed

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    1. Nice. Also couldn't help but notice what looks like a person carrying a step-through with full chaincase across the river in the background...

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    2. You made me curious, so I found the park and took a photo for you...This is what you saw.:)

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/61932626@N07/9058519937/

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    3. Oh wow!
      Thank you for taking that, made my day : )

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  9. I love that kind of ride. We get those sudden torrential downpours in Florida pretty frequently in the summer. A few friends and I know how nice it is to ride in the rain, when you have the streets to yourself. Thanks for this post!

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  10. Riding in the rain is fun, especially on quiet roads with the expectation of a dry landing. Fenders don't' matter. I've also had some miserable days in the rain while touring....Everything soaked soaked for days on end creates a surly mood :)

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  11. Love riding in rain. Good thing too because we get a lot of it here in northwestern Washington state. We even get rain when it's sunny with few clouds.

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