Saturday, August 11, 2007


Today was a golden day. We woke at dawn, hopping onto the bikes to see the sun rise over Placerita Canyon and then whizzing down through the curves for a well-deserved breakfast. We're beginning to inaugurate a Saturday-morning habit of this particular corner diner, in which we always catch sass from a waitress who doesn't so much as take an order but assigns an order on our behalves. Miraculously, she always orders right (blueberry buckwheat pancakes and a steaming mug of English Breakfast tea, thankyouverymuch.)

From there, we parked the bikes and high-tailed it to the farmer's market, where we inched our way through the bounty to accrue a bone-cracking load of redolent vegetables. It's going to be an exciting week at our house at dinnertime.

Once home, we left the bag scattered for a long while to crawl in for a nap, waking up to discover the cat snoring and sprawled over our legs, late-afternoon sun spilling over our backs. There was nothing for it but to throw our gear back on and head back out - this time, cutting through Big Tujunga Canyon.

I've understood this from the first moment I threw a leg over the back of the R1 - you can not understand speed until your full body is exposed to it. On a bike, speed is like sunlight; you're bathed in it, every cell saturated by it, in a way that warms you to the center of yourself. Speed moves over you as you swim upstream through a river of air, defining your relationship to the stone and wood and metal that either sits motionless as you pass or drifts through the current beside you. Speed makes you dynamic and meditative, and speed shapes your body to the bike, and here you're not riding but running - running faster and faster, so fast that your legs have become wheels, and you can stop anytime you want to but you don't want to because it's only in this river of speed that you truly feel that you can breathe. And from the time you learn to swim here, this breath is the breath only breath that will truly fill you.

The speed rushes past your helmet and in through the slitted vents in your leathers and under cotton until it finds your skin, wrapping tight around you until you feel your own exquisite nakedness and know that this speed owns you completely; that even when you're lying perfectly still in the moments before you sleep, you'll remember how it touched the small of your back when you tucked under the wind, and how it fluttered in your stomach when you went through that corner a touch too hot, and how it filled your sails and bouoyed you giddily past a standstill world. You should wear earplugs, but you don't because then you wouldn't hear her singing to you; you should obey the posted rules, but you don't because you're chasing her.

Now iTunes has decided to sing 'Mr. Tambourine Man' to me and there's a satiny Chardonnay sitting half-consumed on the endtable. My bones are still shivering from sweetness, and there's so much sweetness yet to come.

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