Due to cat needing vet visits, I spent two days working from home, driving Em El down south for work and picking her up in the evening.  I haven’t commuted by car in years, so it was quite a shock to my system.  Blood pressure rises, teeth gritted, eyes glaze over as you follow the same route over and over.  I’m used to seeing the stupid things drivers pull as I ride my bike, but it’s totally different when you’re driving.  It actually bothers me more, probably because I’m already extremely agitated just from the mere fact of being behind the wheel.  Anyway, it got me thinking about people who commute the same route for years on end.  Every day, a vacant thousand-yard stare fixed on the traffic lights ahead.  The rote of it all would kill me in a matter of months.

So after the storms pass, and the dishes are drying in the rack, I step out into the cool air.  That old cottonwood out back sings its timeless song with nothing more than leaves in the wind and I am so thirsty to hear it.  I want to go to sleep listening to nothing but that.  It takes me back to, of all places, Lucy Park and the hidden trails I found that one day, winding alongside the chocolate brown river.  After a deep and full night of cottonwood sleep I want to wake up to the high fluted serenades of the thrushes.  I want to turn my head to the window and breathe in the meadow breeze as it fills the room.  I am so hungry for what feeds me.  So desperate in this urban confusion.  I keep fitting one leghold trap after another onto these withered limbs.

I can’t stop hearing Bill Callahan sing, “My ideals have got me on the run…towards my connection with everyone.  My ideals have got me on the run…it’s my connection to everyone.”

I don’t even know anymore what my ideals are, if I even ever had a clear idea.  I’m so shifty and drifty, I’m barely able to pin myself down most days.  And I’m certainly not running anymore.  Treading murky water, perhaps.  As for my connections, they are few and far between.  Far in miles and farther yet in states of mind.

I don’t want to become institutionalized.  I really don’t.  I know that much. Maybe that’s an ideal?  It’s something I’ll keep fighting against as long as I have the strength, even if it’s with my last few ounces.

mt zion road

Up in Carroll County there is a road called Mt Zion Road. For as long as I have been biking up in those parts (about 3 years), Mt Zion Road has been closed to thru traffic. There is a detour to follow that involves riding on Dark Hollow Road (scary!) and also includes some unpleasantly brutal hills. I have dutifully followed the detour every time. However, last month my curiosity got the best of me and I turned down Mt Zion Road in order to find out just exactly why a road would be closed for 3 straight years. Well, it turns out that Mt Zion Road is in fact a wonderfully pleasant road! For one thing, there are NO cars on it, which just in itself can make a road wonderful. But it is also beautiful because there are a lot of trees and fields, and only a few houses. It is also a very quiet road. Anyway, I biked on for a couple of miles or so and eventually came to the root of the problem: a small bridge only about 15 feet long or so spanning a tiny country creek. Apparently the bridge can no longer support automotive traffic. There were barricades up on either side of it. However, my bike fit through quite nicely. On the other side, grass had begun growing up through cracks in the pavement. Nature was doing her best to reclaim her rightful land. I lazily rode along a bit farther before stopping to eat a banana in the middle of the road, with tall trees on either side and birds chirping and flying here and there. I thought about how much I love abandoned roads. I also wondered if the residents were opposed to the bridge being repaired. When functional, I am sure it’s a well-used road due to its location. However, if I lived on Mt Zion Road, I’d be hoping for that bridge to be busted forever. Just the other day I rode down there again. A goldfinch led the way, and I later stopped to greet a couple of burros. They seemed quite interested in me, although they got skittish when I tried to approach the fence. So I rode on and later stopped after crossing the bridge, ate a Clif bar, and absorbed the silence and the visual beauty of a creek winding through verdant fields.

That’s all for today, but before I sign off I wanted to commemorate the passing of a literary giant. You were one of the greats, Aleksandr. Best wishes on the next leg of your journey.

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