Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What cycling gives me

Tuesdays I ride down through Harvard Square to the river and from there I take the path that runs between the slowly flowing water of the Charles and the fast running traffic of Storrow Drive. On one side, roaring, buzzing, honking traffic, on the other the river, Canada and snow geese, mallards, skittering pigeons and a smattering of people rowing their whisper thin sculls back and forth.

This morning I was rolling along, neither pushing the pedals hard nor dogging it, when I glanced off to my left and saw a giant blue heron standing in the shallows, stock still and stretched to its full height.

So I stopped, because I could, because I wasn't in a car, in traffic, in a hurry, and sealed off from the world.

I stood and watched for about 10 minutes. What an incredible animal, almost four feet tall with its neck fully stretched, then stalking along the river's rocky edge, it's neck curled and cocked in a backwards S, ready to stab out at a fish. When standing its feathers laid smooth like a slick plastic rain coat. When creeping along in the hunt, its back feathers caught the wind and fluttered. Just amazing.

I love riding, just for the sake of it. I love the feeling of motion under the wheels. It can be effortless sometimes, like flying or gliding, but cycling also gives me a connection to the world and a flexibility that driving or walking don't.

No comments: