Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Tracing the Tangles
But stubbornly I persist: the same old 45 rolling miles, from Rockport to Ipswich and back. There is exactly one stretch of backroad along my route, and I anticipate it as one might anticipate a tart fruity filling in an otherwise bland pie.
There is only one stretch of backroad, but this stretch has a little of everything: climbing, quiet, overhanging trees, wooden bridges over saltwater marshes. And the part I look forward to most are the twists. The narrow road loops abruptly to the left, then to the right, then to the left again, then - who knows. It twists haphazardly - not so much a series of hairpins, as a mess of tangles.
As a young girl I once found a stray length of golden chain in my grandmother's garden. It was thin and delicate, the kind of chain meant to be worn with a pendant. But now it was dirty and torn and missing a clasp - not really of use to anyone. I remember standing there and spilling it back and forth from one hand to the other, fascinated by the curves and tangles it made each time it settled on my palm. I would trace the tangles with my eyes and it was an act of meditation.
This memory comes out of nowhere as I now trace the twists of the road on my bike. Or rather, it is the bike that traces them. I merely hang on and take it all in, savoring the experience. The bike leans dramatically left, then right, then left, then ...who knows. And I relax and lose myself in the meditative feel of it, my hands keeping clear of the brakes. I can't tell you how I finally learned to corner. It just happened one day. It emerged from a tangle of experiences, memories, emotions.