Saturday, October 09, 2004

Ride by the morning light

Tomorrow morning I will get out of bed before the sun rises. I'll quietly peek in on our still-sleeping children, read the paper and feed the cat before I throw on my biking gear and roll my bike out of the garage and into the frosty chill of an autumn morning in London.

Frankly, I'd rather sleep in. I don't get enough sleep as it is, so the thought of forcing myself out of the house at an ungodly hour when I should instead have my head warmly stuffed under my pillow while my head plays another in a series of happy dreams is, frankly, ridiculous. It's a weekend morning, and here I am giving up a sleep-in.

Yet there I am blowing warm air into my hands as I pause briefly over my bike frame and plot out the morning ride in my head. I consider where I'm going to go, how fast I'm going to peg my average speed, and what I intend to get out of the ride. Some mornings I wimp out and stay close to home, riding in 20 km orbits so that I can quickly head home if I lose the will to ride long. Other mornings, I head straight out and stretch my legs toward some faraway burg that I've never before visited. That way, I have no choice but to keep my legs turning for the fully allotted time. Either way, it's a mind game. And it's one I play on my own.

See, for all the complaining I direct at myself as I first hit the cold air of a frosty morning, this is the time I need to assemble my head after one tumultuous week ends, and before the next one begins. Although I carry a cell phone for emergencies, it does not ring. I don't meet anyone I know. I speak to no one else unless I absolutely must. It's as close to solitary confinement as I'm ever going to get, and if the price to be paid is a slightly blue set of fingers for the first few kilometres, then so be it.

Now that my living is made by the words I write, this is the time when the jumble of letters starts to coalesce into the directed flow of thoughts that will form the basis of the upcoming week's writing. Sometimes, ideas take root during this ride that will emerge as fully-baked pieces many months down the road. My head somehow keeps track of them all, but it needs this alone time, cold as it may be, to start working it all out.

I also ride because I am the child of a generation that did not believe taking care of yourself truly mattered. I am the child of a generation that spends its days taking a litany of pills, visiting a litany of doctors, and counting the days until the next surgery. And if it isn't their own troubles that ail them, it is the troubles of the people who surround them that occupy their respective days. Our society's epidemic of declining health - and the resulting crisis in the health care system - is in large part brought on not by chance, but by choice.

I may not be able to control everything that may happen to me in future, but I will do everything I can to prevent the preventable. And if it means cold air slicing through the ventilation holes of my helmet when the sun's just rising, the frost clings to depressions in the road, and I'd rather be in bed, then that's the price I'll pay for not giving up on a future that would otherwise doom me if I simply gave up.

Who knows, maybe I'll even see you on that endless road one of these Sundays. I'll be the one on the pink Specialized. I'll be smiling.

1 comment:

Diva said...

You're an inspiration to us all, Carmi. Be careful on your rides.