Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Okay, now that was interesting...

Yesterday the rain stopped just long enough for the pavement to dry and I kinda flipped.  I knew if I put Serenity on the Jumper and made my way to the park it would start raining again.  Not wanting to take a chance, I took a different kind of chance.  I took to the surface streets.  Something I wasn't planning on doing for a while yet despite the fact that I used to ride on the road all the time.  I was also not planning on it until I'd gotten a helmet.

But after four days I really needed a ride.  At first I was going to ride in circles in the parking lot where I live.  But going in circles wasn't much fun.  Five circles and I flipped out.  I couldn't take it, I NEEDED to ride.  A block from my house was a nice quiet neighborhood area that I'd looked at as a possible place for some quick rides in the future.  Now was as good a time as any.  So I went over there.  The route I'd mapped was a mile of very quiet blocks.  Five laps later, the rain started to fall again and I took off for the house.

It was still very cold, and as I started out my hands and feet were freezing, but I needed to ride and knew once I got going I'd heat up.  Sure enough the cold start didn't last long and soon I was flying and in the zone.  The huffing, puffing, heavy breathing, heart pounding, body complaining quickly melted away to that "Ahhhhhh, Oh YES!  I so needed this!!!" Feeling that keeps me going back.  The cold wind in my hair, on my skin, became a welcome friend once again, the legs and my whole body settled into the rhythm and was rewarded once again with that thrumming of the tires as we fly across the terrain.  Sweet, blessed, freedom and release.  No longer a rider on a machine, but a great, beautiful, bird in flight, lofing on thermals, swooping, diving, flying and pumping into climbs to catch the next thermal.  Serenity became and extension of me, and I of her.

And then it was all so easy, so rewarding. and I lost myself to the blending. I warmed right up, my breathing slowing to blend in with the pace of my legs, my blood coursing through me, my energy flowing and melding with the joy of flying, the power gained from the work.  And I was gone, frustrations, fears, anxiety, depression, life for the moment behind me and receding like earth dropping away from a ship finally free of atmo and into the embrace of space.  For a moment I was firmly in that moment, fully present, soaking up everything as I flew through it.  The smells of the grass, the life around me, the trees, birds and all the life reaching out to me and I to it.  The neighborhood dogs, who barked once and I said hi part of them, part of me, touching for just a moment and they god catch up in the flow.  Chase in an instant became a taste of freedom for them as they switched from pursuit to running with me, their gate changed and settled into that free, comfortable loping dogs will do when happy and free to run.  Aggressive chase energy melted away to them enjoying the experience and running with me.  And for just a moment they were free and flying to!

Words do not justice to the experience make, but at least I can with these typed characters help guide you dear reader to a hint of the feelings and sensations.

Yes, I know better than to ride surface streets with out a helmet, but I needed that so badly.  I needed out of my water logged cage for some time in the sky.  Or as my friend Laura calls it rideitation!  Mindfulness, being fully present in that moment of flight, stretching into the next, everything left behind me for a while.  One lap melted into the next, and the next, and the overwhelming joy I was awash in spreading out and around me.

And then, after five laps of a mile each, the first drops reached me and it was time to stop.  I set course for home and punched it.  Made it back to my building before the sky really opened up on me only to be met by my down stairs neighbor:

"Wow, I saw you go flying out of here and thought to myself 'Where is she going so fast?' So when I saw you come coasting back in figured I'd come up briefly and chat.  I thought you said you weren't brave enough for the streets yet?  That it would be years?  Are you okay?  What happened?  You'd said you wouldn't even think of it without a helmet?"

"Four days of rain is what happened! I rode a couple circles in the parking lot, saw dry pavement and just lost my mind for a moment, I really needed to fly!  I needed to spend some time flying."

"Well that's what it looked like as you flew out of here.  You looked like a bird flying by my window so fast!"

So we chatted briefly before going our separate ways and as I took Serenity up the stairs and down the hall it struck me.

Holy Hannah I rode on the streets!!!  

For a moment, more really, I was whole, complete, not afraid, not the discarded wretch of a woman Earl had life by the side of the road, but a woman in the saddle and flying again like I used to do before Earl came along.  I wasn't the scared, disaster of a woman in recovery by was once again strong, confident, careful, graceful, wonderful and almost whole again!  I connected with a part of me I'd thought lost to me forever.  Another step toward progress and recovery found on a cold, wet, dark day in a small quiet neighborhood in Ohio!

Back in a time before Earl, before I knew anything, before I had access to parks and trails all I had were the streets around me.  And I flew then too. I covered miles, cities, even states on my bike.  It was all I had.  A beat up old Ten Speed, the clothes on my back and miles and miles of roads to explore.  It was freedom, escape, release, and moments of peace away from my Father and his madness.  I was strong, confident, careful, graceful, wonderful and whole.  I knew nothing about the years of terror and pain that lay before me, and I was free from the horrors of my life then.  I was in my sky flying!

So today, now that was interesting, and completely unexpected.

"I'm moving on..."  -- Rascal Flats


caroline said...

I now hate to ride the roads and I hate helmets.

Great that the nerve is back, keep flying.

Caroline xxx

caroline said...

I now hate riding the roads, also hate helmets.

Great that you have your nerve back, keep flying.

Caroline xxx

Samantha said...

Hiya Caroline!

For most of my life I refused to wear even a hat. Would mess up my hair and I hated it. All the years I used to ride I did so without a helmet for much the same reason, the whole messing up of the hair thing.

Now, my life is all about change and growth. All about doing the right thing in order to prevent problems. So a helmet it will be.

Getting my nerve back, well that's very much an unexpected benefit of being interested in healing, growth, and not clinging to the broken and damaged part of my life and self that threaten to drown me.

So yes, still very much flying. I love it!

Véronique said...

We have a helmet law for cyclists in this province, unless you are a Sikh wearing a turban. So no choice for me if I want to stay legal! Not to mention safer. :)

Yes, it sucks to have helmet hair!

Samantha said...

Actually Véronique, we have the same law here in Ohio too, I was just not being legal that day. It's one of the other big reasons I've not being riding on the streets because I don't want a moving violation on my license. The good news is my new Giro helmet, and gel gloves get here Monday! So I'll be street legal, and feel safer.

Yeah, helmet hair kinda sucks, but I'm getting myself past that, because to be honest I work up a sweat out riding, so I'm not exactly the sweetest looking thing on wheels after I get cooking. So I'm not going to worry the hair too much right now.

I'm hoping that by the time Laura gets here end of June I won't utterly embarass myself or her. I'm not exactly a speed demon and Laura's been doing this way longer than I. I'm hoping I'll be able to keep up!