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Sunday, July 17

seeking grace

No, not the spiritual kind:
Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people
I have a sort of convoluted theory about all that stuff and I am sure that whether I am right or wrong will not matter a bit to the powers that be.

I am speaking of grace as defined in the dictionary thusly:
Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.

I don't have that. I have never had that. It is not related to my foray into what will soon be considered my "golden" years. Except for a decent showing on the dance floor during the 80's I have never had what could be considered charm of movement. I was reminded of this yet again when I finally got my bike out and went riding along the waterfront.

I meant to get pedaling earlier, like late April or May. But it was cold and rainy and then I got busy and I kept putting it off. I live on a bike path. I have no excuse. It was July before I finally got the bike on the street.

Russell still rides like a teenager. He puts one foot on a pedal, pushes off and throws his leg gracefully over the seat while careening down the street. His bike moves straight and true as he does this.

Meanwhile, I have both hands on the handle bars in a death grip and I am trying to decide whether I should keep trying to get my leg over the seat from behind or if I should put my foot between the seat and the bars and scoot in sideways but my shoes keep getting stuck. The bike is wobbling fearfully as I keep trying to do this while hoping no kids ride by and start laughing at the chubby old lady trying to get on her bike.

Russell, meanwhile, has circled back several times waiting for me. No pressure.

I finally get on the thing and now I have to start out. I can only start out with the right pedal. No, I don't now why and, yes, I have tried it with the left and it just doesn't work for me. It has always been so. Apparently, the way I stop and start means that the right pedal is always in the highest position so now I have to get my foot up there and balance it before I can start. No, I never think to even out the pedals before I do this. Once again, I don't know why.

Russell is circling like a land buzzard.

OK, pedal engaged, off I go, wobbling mightily until I can get up some speed and then, praise all, I am riding. As long as I don't have to stop, I am riding!

Every stop sign is a challenge, crossing the street is a project, but I carry on. I know that in a week or so I will have remembered how I do all this. But I will never look good doing it. Russell can make small, concentric circles while riding. I have to hop off the seat and do this little hopping in a circle dance with the bike between my legs. I expect a sign to pop up at Canalside any day announcing the newest comedy act appearing daily.

One would think that my clumsiness would discourage me from trying, but it doesn't. Because once I'm riding and the wind is in my hair and the sights and sounds of the neighborhood or trail are all around me, I am not clumsy. I am not getting old. I am like the wind. Well, maybe a breeze.

It feels good to make my knees work, to get out of breath a little bit on a rise, to coast downhill with my feet out sideways like a little kid.

In a few more days I know I will be able to hop on that bike like a 40 yr old. I will ride on a street alongside cars without chanting "don't hit me, don't hit me" under my breath. I will make a tight U-turn while remaining seated.

Yes, there will be snow on the ground by then and I will have to start over again in the Spring, but maybe I will achieved something else. A little bit of effortless movement.

You might call that grace. Both kinds.


Anonymous said...

thank you

Jo said...

HAHAHAHAAAAAA "circling like a land buzzard" I LOL'd