In the Leaves

Pour your tea. Let the leaves float free. Drink it down fast. Hand it over. The future is there, if you squint, if you believe, if you’re not a coffee drinker, and you’re still willing to ride in the woods.

The deep, dark woods aren’t really so dark. The sun slants in like the light from a slide projector. It strobes as you fly through the trees, blinding you peripherally, but who cares? The air is crisp, and you have no where to be. Or maybe you just have to be here. You should very certainly be here.

There is nothing to be accomplished, nothing to be achieved this time of year. Just fun. Slow down. Speed up. Same. Same. Ride the A line, or the B line. Make a C line. No one cares.

In the leaves there is a new trail. It’s the old one with new secrets, a game of memory. You know where one rock is, but where is the other? The leaves crunch beneath your weight as you guess wrong, less forgiving than they look.

In the leaves, those stones grow tall and bold and shuffle themselves in the pack, the jokers all wild. I come into every turn hotter than I ought to and lock the brakes to slide. I alternate between maniacal smiles and overcooking my little trick, ending up in the bushes, which are all branch and no mercy.

Bruce picked the wrong line, steep and rooty. His front wheel popped up and somehow he was ejected out the back of the project, like he’d tripped on a treadmill. Following behind, I considered riding directly over him. Instead I stopped to laugh. To his credit, he laughed too.

In the leaves, the trail I know better than the back of my own hand becomes a technical challenge of new scope and dimension. Call a project meeting. Concoct a new statement of intent. We’ll end up blowing the budget on this one, crawling home half dead. The shower’s hot water will sting, but that’s ok.

If you lay in the leaves and swish your arms and legs, you can make a sort of leaf angel, or maybe a scarecrow. The leaves smell like entropy, like rot, but in the best possible way. I will find them in the laundry later, and in the dryer’s lint screen.

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