Friday, August 19, 2011


it was dark when I left home this morning, my tail light flashing in red morse code, my front light casting a small cone of white into the gray before me.
we are slightly less than a week out from a full moon, and it is waning into less than half of its circular self. the moon was hanging more west than east, more south than north, most of the time somewhere behind my right shoulder.
I glanced back to see it about four miles into my ride, and was instantly washed with a memory of moonlit rides, how beautiful and joyful they were. I clicked my front light off, hoping moonlight would spill before me to illuminate my path.
some did.
but not much.
dawn was close and the moon was far, and I kept my light off to determine just how well my eyes would operate in the faint light surrounding me. I could see well enough to get by, and the joy it brought to my heart was worth every skip of fear. a half mile after I went dark I saw a shape of some kind, possibly, in the bike lane twenty yards in front of me, and it remained motionless as I drew closer, sharpening slowly into a form that became a deer. I pedaled softly, approaching, then turned my light back on as it jumped across the road and up the hillside. did I want it to know I was a cyclist? did I think turning my light on would impact its thought process?
I turned my light off, and continued up the canyon in the slowly brightening dark, feeling rather than seeing the particles of air release their dark grasp.

E.L. Doctorow has compared aspects of life to driving a car at night (which I will compare to riding a bicycle in the early early morning):
You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

and with that thought, I bid you happy trails, whether you have a little or a whole lot of light.

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