Today is the day.
I don’t know what for, or why it’s today or what it will be. Nor do I know where. But today is the day.
I set the pack over my back. Headphones in my hears. Poetry, like yesterday and the day before. Poetry every day! There is nothing I want more. No world news or NPR. I don’t want more details of bad things happening for it would dirty my pristine emptiness.
I have been quiet for days. But today is the day.
Mario Benedetti plays in the tiny white things that hold themselves to my hears.
It’s time to go.
That way. My inner compass looks ahead and imagines the way.
I don’t know yet, but it’s to no place I’ve gone before
I push my feet against the petals
Up a hill with houses and forest on either side
That’s like every road in Ithaca, but this one is something else
Cars wait to pass me
So many of them!
A tractor pulls aside
The sun feels like Florida
My legs want to give, so I dismount and let my shoulders fall. Put weight on my handlebars. It’s so hard going up this hill!
Relax the elbows. Breathe deep.
The bike reminds me of a horse next to me
I miss those days!
Get back on and give it another go
Mario Benedetti still reciting poems
One after the other. The whole book, I guess
Holy cow it’s hot!
Stop to take a sip.
Blank stare at the leaves.
Birds. Chipmunks. Butterflies. Cars still going by.
I can see the valley below, and the top of another hill, the hill that I biked up last year. There’s a dairy farm on it and people cheered me on. I was almost at the top. I can see that exact spot!
Keep going. There’s more hill to climb.
But this one never ends!
Oh, look! Buttermilk State Park. Go right. Enter.
Yes, enter wonderland.
Trees and trees and trees
This is the haystack and I am the needle
The road goes on.
Cabins. Open fields. Parking lots. Bathrooms. Water fountains. People walking. A cigarette butt on the ground. Who would do that?! I can feel their poor lungs, that’s because I used to smoke. I don’t miss that.
Asphalt stopped, dirt trail began. Keep going.
I think it’s been more than an hour since I left home, but I’m not really keeping track. Wow, this is beautiful!
Stairs made of stone. Lock the bike to a tree and go up.
Oh look, a tiny trail goes up the hill, I follow it and hold onto branches so I don’t slip. It’s pretty steep! At the top there is a rock to stand on. Flashback to Bambi’s dad. I feel like I’m on that peak. There’s a giant dam below. I look and hold tight to a branch because the cliff is scary. Across the dam another cliff rises above me. The rocks are gray and burnt orange. More trees on top. I think the small lake is about 50% mud. I would not swim in that!
Ok, it’s time to go.
Backtracking through Bambi’s forest, turn right again and keep going up.
I go and go and go and go
Country houses, bales of hay
Finally the road flattens out, but it still seems so hard
Maybe because I’m in the hard gear
The forever road finally ends.
My old self would say this is quite enough.
But my new self, instantly born, knows today is the day
Clouds are gathering. Holy shit.
It’s dark on the other hill
The break of thunder scares me!
I worry about the things I left outside
My old self would turn around, but my new self knows today’s the day
Everything will be alright
I carry with me a wound that has been opening more with every push. Now it has become a whirlwind and moves with the storm. It releases in unison with the sky. Tears. Sweat. Heavy water drops pounding. There is no mercy.
It takes double or triple strength to breathe
I have more than an open wound. I have my own private cloud that’s afraid to leave me.
I suddenly know!
Keep going, everything is going to be alright.
Today is the day.
I know now why I am on this ride!
There’s more power in my feet
the sky still collapses over me
Mario Benedetti has stopped. It was almost 2 hours long.
I come to another road. I really want to turn around. My inner compass says no.
I have no idea where I am
No more cars pass by
Oh sky, relentless sky!
Dare-devil drops take leaps from my hat
“At the next road you can turn around”
I don’t even know if there’s going to be a next road
Don’t be ridiculous
I think I’m delirious
Some part of me is hopping out of place. She’s not in this game. No fucking way.
What’s the worst that can happen? My two selves must talk.
I then pull my out-of-place piece and put it back in its spot
I go and go more
…go until you ache no more. go until you see clear. go until…
It wasn’t the sound barrier that broke
It was the barrier of fear