the adventure continues

December 2008: Graduated from university January 2009: started getting sick December 2009: worked on beating cancer January 2010: TBA

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Location: Seattle, WA, United States

newly minted alumnus of the Art Department at the University of Idaho; BFA in studio art, with a history minor


night riding

do you like balmy warm evenings? the best are like the ones at my maternal grandmother’s place in Florida, playing hide-and-seek with my cousins during a reunion. I am also fond of chilly weather and the peculiar feeling of alive-ness that you get when you jump in a pool of 50 degree water. I just got back from a bike ride: it’s 3am, gusty and cloudless.

on the way out to the first big S-curve on the trail-- maybe a mile from my house-- I turned off my lights and cinched my jacket against the gale. it wasn’t howling, but I felt like a sailor, tacking around on the pavement. I paused again to do a few quick yoga poses and ended standing with my arms outstretched to the sky. then I noticed a different glow on the horizon. unconvinced that I could remember where the moon should be I called a friend and text messaged my sister. no response.

continuing on I wondered what makes me turn into the wind and pedal up a hill-- is it some remnant of stoic Scottish ancestors or determined Germans? shouting out “Blue Bells of Scottland” la laa laaa lala laa la la laaaaaaaa laaaa la lala la la... I continued up the grade, noting with dissatisfaction how distant flood lights on farmsteads cast significant beams all the way to my vantage point.

although I am not fully recovered from a cold I picked up last week, I figured I was too much awake not to take advantage of the trail tonight. besides, the stars are out and you cannot get enough of that infinite darkness dotted with stars winking like diamonds on a huge velvet backdrop. as a photographer I am more interested in the “golden hour” before sunset, sunset itself, and the period between sunset and sunrise. daylight can be alright, too-- but not as mysterious or sensuous. lately, I have been reminded what it is to be more tuned in to the pulse of life and the things I miss-- from youth cons and residence halls: surrounded by community. I also noted what a stodgy old bastard I’ve pretty much always been.

the “different glow” I saw materialized from behind the trees and I found myself staring at a gigantic golden half-moon. inadvertently, I now know where the moon starts (and presumably where it will set)-- I thought I had missed the show. now I lay over a pair of pillows with my arms out in front typing in a posture I’ve only ever seen Superman use for flying. hell-- my chiropractor probably wouldn’t approve, but it seems to work for me.

I wonder if I will stay awake all night. doubtful, considering the way my eyes are drooping, but out on the trail I had to ask myself whether I wanted to press on ward into the storm and I nearly said yes. but when I turned to go-- there was fear, grinning at me like an idiot. it wasn’t irrational, and I could have headed for Troy, but I decided to cut it short and enjoy the tailwind down the slope. the trees have just barely begun to bud out, and most of the ground cover is still dry dead twigs that whisper and rattle in the wind. I tucked the hood of my coat on and hopped up on the bike. within 30 seconds I was max-ing out third gear.

whizzing past the quarter mile long power substation, I could see a faint blue glow from some building or machine-- and hear the dry rasp of energy humming over the transmission lines. I’ve always been a fan of electricity-- it’s magic-- and I think Tesla knew that, too. the city is a faint orange glow up ahead, and the density of large sodium-lamps gets thicker as I close in on my neighborhood. the concept of “light polution” is kind of abstruse, and somewhat inane by the usual standards. however, it is not to be trifled with: the cars on the highway next to the trail will use there high-beams unaware how it can disrupt evening and night-time bicyclists-- and I’m sure none of the farmers have given any thought to the real power of the bulbs over their houses and shops.

that was something else I recall from childhood-- traveling through vast amounts of darkened hills and passing little outposts of light where different people lived. it was something my family passed in silence, more often than not. either my sister and I were napping or passed the time observing the night in a with a meditative attitude.

I'll call it quits for now, but hope to return with similar insight at a later date...