Why I Mountain Bike: Escapism and the Wish to Fall off the Face of the Earth (in Brasil)

The knobby tires spin round and round, going on the downhill as I hesitate to pull the brake, wanting to find flow between keeping it in control and endo—heels over head, back tire over handlebars.  

Neil Young says he’s living with war.  But me, I’m dying.  I wanna fall off the face of the earth and, praise be, fall into the realm of love.  No more killing for freedom.  No more right to prove wrong.  No more need for existentialism.  I want Thoreau and Emerson to come alive.  Give me Hafiz and Rumi and a bottle of wine, and the politicos to sit down at my table.  

                                           ******************

As you read this, I’m off in Brazil learning about remote towns and their need for cooking energy.  They want to cook food for their families, but it is a bit costly—money-speaking, or, taking away the people’s health in the form of cooking with wood that gives off smoke that fills lungs.  

1.6 million human lives end each year—due to cooking smoke.  Gone lives.  More than malaria causes, more than tuberculosis.  Trying to feed your offspring, and killing yourself while doing so.  Killing them too, the babies strapped on the back while woman cooks.

                                      ********************************

Ride on.  Ride on.  Concentrate on the line though the rocks.  Leavin’ the “now” behind for the immediate “NOW.”  If I lose focus, drifting away to world order, I will surely lose the line and find myself on my hind side with tomorrow’s bruise.  Knobs not in line.  Balance not found.

                                               

                                               
                                                When

                                        No one is looking

                                    I swallow deserts and clouds

                                 And chew on mountains knowing

                                         They are sweet

                                             Bones!!

                                    When no one is looking and I want

                                                To kiss

                                                   God

                                       I just lift my hand

                                                To

                                               

                                                My

                                                Mouth.

                                                            —–Hafiz (Sufi master, Persian Poet)

                                             *****************

Tasting the bones of the mountain, as I have fallen and my muscles and marrow slam into the spine of Appalachia .  Grin comes to my face.  The pain is not on the doorstep yet.  Grin is smile, for what else should it be when recognizing “smallness?”  The bike technology in cohoots with the body is not enough to master the billions years old existence of the eastern US mountain chain. 

************************************

Why do you not believe me when I say “God lives in the spoke of a tire?”   The red-tailed hawk flies by on the trail in unison with the tread.  I look at the hawk and know that she knows my hardship.  “War is peace”—are three words I need to disassemble to find their roots.  

I dream that when I disassemble them (those three words) I find the OK-ness to fall off the face of the earth for a little while, Neil Young style, or not. 

Maybe I am (not styling Young), as I am in remote Brasil and communing with those of “smallness.”   

Not dying, but LIVING.

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