I finally got a new bike. Well, it’s a used bike, but we’re starting a new life together. It’s been too long. The old one was a gift, a half-joke, and cheap, and these last couple years riding it felt too much like work and not in the good, efficient exercisey way that biking should. It creaks in weird places and technically belongs to an imaginary person whose name i’ll keep secret but once she was dreamed as a blur of color and light. She never came for her bike, even in the winters i left it unguarded and snow-covered on porches or sheds, so i kept riding it. Until Tuesday, when a friend sold me hers, loved and well-cared for and a reminder of why people fall in love with bikes. Why i did. It’s dark now when i bike up the hill to work in the mornings, and the moon’s back in the consciousness of the north. This morning, it reflected through broken clouds on the lake, and i rolled onto the little beach, stopping as the front tire hit the water, marveling at the sensitivity of working brakes. Thanks, Kate.
I used to bike to work in the dark early mornings, also to make coffee, but without a hill or a lake and no chance or startling a moose on the way, and the Rasputina cover of “Brand New Key” was like my power ballad: “don’t go too fast but i go pretty far.” I had a green and silver mountain bike that got stolen, then an amazing blue beach cruiser, both of which i rode in ways they were not intended to be ridden. Still, they all represented a kind of resistance to cars and dependence and straight lines. Remember when biking was political? When everything was? Even the recently replaced (but still sitting on the porch) bike has a sticker that says “the revolution will not be motorized.” Which is most likely true. But.
I tried to find something useful to reflect on relating to 9/11 and nonstop wars and reread old blog posts (now that i’m trying to get back to blogging), and what i found was that i’ve been tired of it for a very long time and rehashing that doesn’t serve much of anything. But i did come across this story about birds getting trapped in the memorial towers of light in New York, and the decision to turn off the lights at intervals to let the birds go. I think it was the only useful thing i read today. I remember something about the realization 13 years ago that whales in the Pacific were vocalizing more and differently because shipping stopped after the attacks. Pay attention to these interconnections, these blurs of color and light, working brakes and moonlight. The revolution may not be anything but that.