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Thursday, October 12, 2006

From the Seat of a Bicycle

I've never been one of those people who insist wholly on an automobile. They are crazed, wreckless, stubborn animals that can only run their gas-gurgling, dollar-demanding course in between fierce, strigent lines. Lines that are absolutely nonnegotiable or perhaps only negotiable with the imbalanced recompense of a heavy fine or a rearranged vehicle or a squashed cat or dog or some other worse fatality. Silly lines.....and silly cars....and silly society that insists wholeheartedly on cars that depends heart and soul on lines.

I've never been one of those people who insist wholly on the soles of ones shoes. They are heavy, cumbersome little devils that require constant patience if you want to go anywhere very far. They just ain't fun...after the 10,004th step...and no mountian climber will argue with me there. (Oh sure that mountain is fine and lovely, but take away that gorgeous mountain pass and trade it for a dull neighborhood or a smoggy industrial parkway...and Sir Edmund Hillary would not forbear another step). So I take to a bicycle like a tri-talented duck takes to the water. He has flown and he has waddled...and now he floats, drifts, almost glides on the silver surface as he paddles.....a satisfied balance of ease and effort.

However, this does not mean that I necessarily insist on a bicycle either. I am presently almost forced to. My car lies down below in the garage coughing and wheezing, stretched out moaning and groaning, on it's death bed. Poor thing, I've had the thought once or twice to take it on one last mad dash over the mountains nearer the sun, to put the awful beast out of its misery. But the times we've shared, and the horizons we've chased....it just doesn't seem right. It's sputtering agony would become my agony. And this I just cannot endure.

My life passes by under two thin wheels. I ride to work and I ride to school. Uphill and Downhill. Both into the wind and accompanied by it. My legs synchronized in circular motion upon the pedals. My fingers gripped around the bar in front ready at the quickest reflex to wrap around the breaks. My eyes steady and my lips tasting the breeze as I flit by. Surely, the automobile is over-rated....unless you have somewhere important to be.

About a year ago at Harding University, for a short while, I was obsessed with the bicycle. My present day was swamped with all types of middling work. Papers on this and exams on that. When really, whenever I got right down to it...I just wanted to comfort my high tuition spending and MLA documentation-scarred life, by riding on a bicycle all day long. It was it's own form of therapy and a chance to catch a feel or a whiff of the things that really matter in this life....sunshine and wind. Take your college degree, take your money, take your petty facebook friends, take your jerseyed social clubs, take those expensive rings, but give me wind and sunlight....these are the underrated rations of the soul.

Now, I didn't have a bike myself. I would rush over to Carrie Davis' apartment at all hours of the day and night. Bang on her door. "I'm borrowing your bike...is that okay?" Or something to that effect. And then like a breeze that is just beginning to break out of the clouds and into the broad blanket of warmth and golden light, I'd swoop across fields, sidewalks, asphalt, trails, and white swing consultations, breaking up the prefixed order of things in their respective diagrams of studious groups, winter-preparing squirrels, courting couples, the scheme of success, the attainment of popularity, the delineation of a quiant life, the call of a predestinating and distant God, in a gust they'd be all scattered and thrown as the kicked-up tailspin of my cloudburst thought-life trailing, in a defeated whirl, the vivacious triumph of my newly found freedom.

The heart is more circular than it is square. It's imposed again and again as being square. It was never so. The heart is always round and given to rhythms. It rolls in motion; not turns in direct angles. The invention of the wheel is accredited as mankind's greatest invention. For once man thought to make something more like the feel of his own heart. And ever since...he has twirled across existence. The bicycle is a mechanical somersault. It's attributed to childhood and to innocence. And its mode and method of moving is circular. The heart should always rest at ease on a bicycle.

Unless you happen to be in the city. I came to Birmingham...and was dependent upon a bicycle for the majority of my transportation. A city, making gridlike all pathways, can be a nuisance when between handlebars. There is ever the barrier of buildings, the necessity of walking lights, and the stress of traffic....the bicycle looses its idealism pumping up sidewalks where construction disturbs the peace and my pedaling space. Nevertheless, I have found a nice patch of paradise in the midst of the city, actually my path to work, where a bicycle venture matches those prototypical and rustic days of Searcy, that are now fast fading to a nice piece of fuzzy nostalagia (somehow I forget the stressful times about them). I go to this hidden recess often, but I'm afraid it would take the form of another long post to indulge my pen. Maybe next time. For the time present...I have to pedal out of this downtown campus back to my residence. There still may yet be some streaks of sunlight to glimpse and definitely a breeze to feel.


Anonymous Jennifer said...

Nice descriptions! Not like the long-winded Sena Jeter Naslund :)

9:17 AM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

Thanks. So you found Naslund too long-winded?

1:00 PM  
Anonymous megan said...

so i am still reading these blogs. anyway, world mission workshop was last weekend. it was entirely great. I always run into such neat people there. ha!

2:40 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

Good. I'm glad someone is still reading these blogs. Yes, I wanted to go to World Missions Workshop but I don't have much of a car, and work sort of stops that. How are you doing now? Do you have facebook?

9:21 AM  
Anonymous megan said...

I am as a whole doing wonderful. facebook, yes. maybe this link will work
otherwise. just search for Megan Hoover.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish comments would cross post between facebook and here.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

As do I.

4:50 PM  

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