10 April 2015

This Journey, With Apologies To James Wright

Whenever I ride a long road or path along an ocean--or just about any other body of water, for that matter--I can't help but to think about some of the earliest long rides I took, as a teenager in New Jersey.

Some said I was a lonely kid. Truth was, I simply wasn't thinking about the things most other kids my age were.  Truth was, I couldn't.  Oh, I worried about which college, if any, would accept me and ran different career paths through my mind.  Truth was, I was doing those things because other people said I should.

Truth is, I was on a journey on which no one could accompany, let alone guide, me.  I wanted to ride my bike across counties and countries when my peers wanted to get their licenses and pick up dates who would be impressed by such things--or being picked up by one of those new drivers.

And that was just one way in which I wasn't on the same road or path as my peers.  If you've been reading this blog--or even some posts on my other one--you know another one of the ways in which my life--or, more precisely, the way in which I saw my identity, my self--differed from almost anybody else I knew.  And I would not learn a language to express it for a long time.

But cycling was, and remains, a means of communication between my body, my spirit and all that is essential to them.  That is the reason why, even when I have ridden by myself, I have never felt lonely while on two wheels.  Some might have said I rode because of alienation.  When I didn't know any better--in other words, when I didn't know how to express otherwise--I believed something like that in the same way people believe the most plausible-sounding explanation for just about anything because they don't know anything else.

Perhaps that is the reason why I am drawn to the ocean, or to any other large body of water, when I'm on my bike.  It was while pedaling along the Atlantic Ocean between Sandy Hook and Island Beach--and along the bodies of water that led to the ocean--that I first realized that I would often ride alone, but I would not lack for companionship.  I had my self, I had my bike and at times I would have a riding partners who understood, or who at least simply wanted to ride with me. Or, perhaps, I would simply want to ride with them.