As I follow the sinuous curves of her, dropping away and out of my immediate focus; I let go of the handlebars and float for a time. Precariously balanced between grace and disaster, I release myself back to the only force that truly controls me....that controls all of us. I've wrestled with these concepts but have so far been unable to put them into practice. I finally succumbed to the idea that I’m truly not in control….I’ve written about it for a while, but I’ve struggled at it as we all do. For better or for worse, we’re just here….floating along….our efforts unrecognized by all others except for our narcissistic selves. Each year goes by just the same as the last…the water flows by you if you choose to sit on the side of the river…or you can jump back in and let the river take you where it may. Either way the river is there, and it does what it does, with or without you.
Sometimes this means that your best efforts at cleaning and overhaulling your bike are met the next morning by a torrential downpour. Sit it out and keep a clean bike, or dive in and get wet…..
I still get smitten when I see perfection…but what is perfection if not the voice of a thousand songs being sung together in disharmonious unity. The world is a cacophony of imbalances that meld together, inconceivably, into balance. The sad song and the happy song, the sorrowful and the joyful tale, the melancholy and the joyous moods of daily life….the one without the other is just a single point of view…..you have to be open to experiencing it all. A clean bike may look good…but only because you can see the art and thought that went into the making of such a beautiful machine; a beautiful machine that exists to make fun and not be clean....a machine that screams, "Let's sling a little mud, Girl"
And by extension of that thought, the dirty bike is equally beautiful. Take into context the thoughts and feelings I felt as I rode this clean and spotless machine through the forest to create this new look….
Think of the natural beauty I sat and pondered as I ate my lunch…..contemplating the concept of perfection…..
Perfection I see in the frozen raindrops on an Aspen leaf, holding the mornings rain well into the overcast afternoon….soft ripples of a breeze not enough to erase the sign that beauty happens here daily as the forest is reborn from the ashes.
And from those ashes I see the irony in the bike that I ride which holds the symbol of the Phoenix…..
.....me, riding this bike as a phoenix is not lost on me….me riding this bike in a place that is, also, rising from the ashes, is not lost on me…hell, me being born in Phoenix is not lost on me. My friend SuLing reminds me that Resonance is something to be mindful of....and I am. To wit.....We are all Phoenicians as we climb our way out of the ashes to a place that is beyond us now...a place where our dreams and hopes reside......
And in this state of progression towards dreams, we are all in a constant state of loss and renewal…it's not all forward progress. It’s up to us to find the renewal when all we can find is loss because there is a balance that exists beyond us...beyond our comprehension at times......too far away to find....too far away to see...and if you search for it, it just gets further away. And one day when you give up the search….you realize that it was always there....you were always on the river.....that sometimes you are being pounded into rocks and at other times you are in an eddy, going in circles. Other times, you are taken by the flood waters of a tempest only to be deposited high above the river....forced to watch the waters go by. But all things return to the river eventually.....as it rained during my ride...the mud that I accumulated early in the day was washed free and returned my bike to a cleaner state.....
As I ride through this place with friends, I’m strangely attracted to the starkness of death around me that once filled my heart with gloom...a time when I looked up at the sky and I could only see the forest in flames. I now see it in the context of the renewal that is springing up all around me as a consequence of that death.....perfection.
In this I observe the beauty of balance.....the death of one thing and the subsequent birth of another. In this, I see perfection, I see hope, I see potential….the 4 foot tall saplings of Aspen rising to cover the bases of the previous generation; white stalks standing as tombstones in what was once a mature forest.....
I see the Evening Primrose at midday, fighting against the precocious sun which is losing out on this overcast afternoon. The Primrose now thrives in the daytime and carbon rich soil within the burn area….flowers on this day stay open for me to see...all because, it's overcast and gloomy above.....
But as we climb through the burn area towards 10,000ft, we enter back into a higher zone protected from the harshness of the burn.
As I look around me, I see the ski lines of seasons past….dry and barren, without the protective sheath of winter to offer a contrast from the rock spires swept barren by the harshness of wind.....
.....and still the lines exist in my mind as well as those that I ride with…these are lines that will always be etched there….if you fail to see them, it’s no matter. They’re there…we skied them…they exist….and so it is.
As we travel on this river, we run into other travelers who sometimes join us on our ferry. They travel with us for a short time and sometimes a long time...but we all get off, eventually. Like the tree rings found in the alpine, we count the weathered years and remember with fondness the better years....but the years are all there nonetheless just like the river.....
As my friends stop to work on their bikes before the final push of the day, I ponder the color that lately holds my fancy. As we mount our bikes for the final descent, a 30 minute whoop-dee-doo ride back home in hero dirt accompanied with hard rain and thunder all around us; we find ourselves yanking and banking through the turns, hooting and hollering underneath the canopy of Spruce and Aspen and later Ponderosa Pine and Oak. On this descent....I find myself letting go of the handlebars once again.....
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