smclewis

Bike Haikus

In 1 on July 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Shan on Bike I sometimes get the best thoughts while riding my bike. I usually ride at dusk in my neighborhood, which is flat and desolate. At this time of day, most of my neighbors seem to be done with their evening meals and errands and tend to be hanging out in their garages or screened-in porches, playing idly with children in the front yard, or just sitting. It seems a content time of day, dewy and transitional, and fleeting.

My husband, Jim, usually rides with me. I have a cool state-of-the-art water bottle and TWO (yes, you heard right)— TWO bells on my handlebars that are there for the sole purpose of pleasing me. These were anniversary gifts from Jim. I don’t wear any special biker gear, just whatever I happen to have on and tennis shoes. I don’t talk much while I ride, which is probably a relief to my husband who listens patiently to my endless chatter on a daily basis which might just make him a saint. Instead, I ride far ahead of him (my bike is faster; his is a mountain bike).

Tonight the sky has a bit of pink to it. I see a heron fly from that pink and between the wires of a giant satellite tower— its long neck a geometrical contradiction to the vertical cables. I notice the moon which is a light blue because the sun has not yet set.

Some nights, I ride into an unfinished condo development. There is a small bridge there where it is impossible to build anything and so there are trees and frogs and a green smell that is missing everywhere else.

I notice the open garage doors. I often wonder what the older man who sits there each night in front of his motorcycle is thinking, and if he fought in Vietnam.

I also look at mailboxes and the flowers people have planted there and wonder if it indicates something about their personalities. I tend to believe that it does. There are those who have wild flowers and climbing vines, and those with ordered clusters of petunias, and those with nothing at all.

Occasionally, I’ll look over my shoulder to see if Jim is still there. He is. I’ll loop around one of the dozens of cul-de-sacs waiting for him to catch up. He passes me. Smart aleck.

A lady walks to her mailbox. It seems a difficult journey. She is walking slowly, probably because of her age, and her knees are arthritic. She wears a lavender outfit that looks like a sweat suit.

I hear someone playing guitar and wish I had learned how. They are practicing and so are repeating measures. I am temporarily imagining learning to play. I see myself on the back porch swing, figuring out frets and chords, but the truth is my hands are small and not that strong. Maybe I should play the ukulele?

At the end of the ride, I come to my house. It is a creamy pale yellow with blue shutters and a matching door. I can never decide if I would like to prune the bushes so that they all have the same shape and size or enjoy their lanky unevenness. I am torn between what is wild and what is ordered. I consider this a metaphor for the basic inner struggle of most of us.

There, are the magnolia blooms.

I snip one off top.

The blue night is almost here.

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