Bicycle Ride

He was riding his old bicycle into the country, going through town, past houses, and then down curving wooded roads where the air was clear and empty. The yellow fields, woods and isolated houses spoke to his inside. As he was riding, he heard a little song about a life that wasn't crowded, that was close to nature and simple and centered. He breathed in and felt the ache in his shoulders work itself out.

The leaves were turning on the trees that surrounded the road. He passed a gate set in a hedge and looked through it at a dirt road and wondered just what he thought. Was that dirt road really beautiful? Were the weathered buildings and old silos beautiful? Wouldn't life be boring out in the middle of nowhere? Wasn't society uglifying life, forcing in with plastic and glowing noisy mindlessness. La lala lala... his mind wheeled away and he pedaled on.

The hills were deeply rolling and he had to work to get up them. Best not to think about it. As he pushed on the pedals, he pushed his thoughts away from his body. It required the physical exercise to open up his mind and let him go free. As he neared the crest of each hill, his vision dimmed with blood and he realized he had been somewhere else. Eventually, he was quite far away and getting farther. He had somewhere to go.

The great Parkway passed over the road he was on, emerging out of the forest and disappearing into it again. It was a stone bridge with a green railing on top and concrete, set between trees and surrounded by grass. There was something about that scene that seemed to say something to him. Long after he passed it he continued to observe it. It was a piece of civilization set among nature - nothing that shouldered in with electricity and griminess. It was part of the country, at rest.

He bicycled along empty stretches of road while scenery patiently walked up to him and said hello, talked a while, and went away with a wave. There were no cars on the road. There wasn't anyone moving around. It was just him under the multicolor-clouded sky with the warming sun.

He was on a particularly wooded stretch of road. It was shady, and the dark and speckled pavement barely showed a shadow or a beam of sunlight. There was a nice grassy spot by the road where the forest opened out. It too was in a mysterious twilight. He got off his bike and left it tipped on its side and walked to the grass. He felt it between his toes and the earth on his bare feet. He set down roots into the loam and became a tree.

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