I had a dream---the martin luther king jr. kind, not the nocturnal kind---that I could somehow, someday, take my son jake with me on a bike ride. mainly so that he could swoop with me down the descents, feeling the rush of air and the exhaltation of being on top of the world, joyful and free.
I never got to do that. I never really worked hard enough at making it happen, knowing that it would involve asking other people for help, that it would be challenging, and not being certain that jake would really even enjoy the experience. I let it be a one-day-maybe thing in my mind, and although I could visualize it in some ways, in others it just seemed completely unrealistic.
then he left us (oh, I still struggle here, and cannot bring myself to type the word that begins with D), and I had to accept that my dream was not going to happen.
not in that version, anyway.
but jake's dad made a suggestion, and I liked it.
he suggested that I take some of jake's ashes with me when I rode.
now for those of you who've never lost someone you love, this may sound a little creepy. but I suggest you allow those of us who have a little latitude. many things change when you experience life-altering events, and my understanding of ashes and the emotions, connections, and reverence that attach themselves to those simple remains has completely reformulated itself.
so two weeks ago I took a small, metal container I have that has a key-chain type ring attached to it, and carefully placed some of jake's ashes into it. the ring I then attached to the brake cables running down from my handlebars and across my front wheel. it hangs there, this little container, and now, jake is with me when I ride.
not that he wasn't before I did that, but now I have a more literal, physical, touchable presentation of his companionship.
we've swooped, we've soared and gloried in it all, and last saturday we explored just how far you can cycle up toward east canyon, after the No Winter Maintenance gate, before the road is too heavy with snow to allow a skinny-tired bike to safely continue.
and the answer was 1.1 miles.
I documented our visit, grinning to myself, then pulled out my phone to snap a quick picture to share with you.
I know he's with me always, but for some quirky reason my heart and soul are terribly pleased that this little bit of him gets to travel with me when I spend time on my life-sustaining, joy-producing, swoop-providing beautiful black bike.
I think he enjoys it as much as I do.