Saturday morning ride

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Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I rode through the country this morning.

The first grey, damp ride of the new training season.

I passed a field of cows, moving slowly in the half light of a winter dawn.

As I rode by 4 calves spotted me and ran in unison away from the fence that seperated us.

Above us a group of birds flew in a v-pattern, those in the back coasting, enjoying the ride.

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I smiled and thought about a page from William Least Heat-Moon’s “Blue Highways” that I keep rereading.

About a man with the capacity to see, but no guts. About a man afraid to go into the “subterranean current of his own life”.

“Holding himself too close. Petting himself too much.”

I thought about that and the cows and the birds above. And the darkness of subterranean currents.

Back at the surface again. A gasp of breath. Something about the ride reminded me of the mountains where I was born.

The coolness of the air, the heavy clouds, the open space and valleys holding on to the darkness just a little longer.

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I smelled breakfast cooking in someone’s kitchen.

It made me think of my family in those hollers and hills up there. East.

My sporadic childhood in open space. Occasional visits to those mountains.

Army men hiding in Lincoln log forts while we shot at them with rubber band guns.

Go carts and minibikes on dirt paths through fields.

Your papaw gave me a dip of tobacco one day in the country. All I had to do was ask for it.

Someone had a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid toy set. They robbed an armored carriage.

My uncle had a framed Washington Redskins print on the wall. In East Tennessee.

My aunt always had Donald Duck orange juice. And Oatmeal Creme pies.

Another made the hottest chili I’ve ever had. She always made it special just for me.

Anyway, this is what I thought about on my bike ride this morning.

I pedaled on. Always the bike.

I took another breath, looked around, and dove back in to the currents below, looking for a way to stop holding myself too close.

I love you,

– Daddy