I was as new as a kid in diapers. Cycling was easy. I climbed on and I pedaled. I changed gears when the pedaling was too hard or too easy. Everything was obvious as hunger.
Like so many things in life, I was shocked into consciousness.
A briny wind coaxed me south on one of Florida’s coastal islands. I can’t claim I was distracted, but the blue sky, the crashing waves, the air like a lover’s breath—there was no way I was going to notice the hand of God at my back.
Land’s end—I look out over the dune and watch the foam martyr itself against the sand. A breeze tosses my hair. I’m young enough to imagine a multitude of selves.
I slipped my other foot into the toe clip and lifted my head toward my future; that’s when I felt sand sting my cheeks; I blinked from worry for my eyes.
Justice left the party. Sure, the trip down was easy, but the challenge of working my way north seemed disproportionate—returning the defective purchase and receiving half my cash back. The wind was bouncer’s hand on my chest difficult. Even though I was moving forward my movement was so slow as to feel stopped. I stared at the asphalt moving beneath me. It sent the sand into my hair and reassured me that I was moving and would eventually make my way home.
That was the day I learned what wind could do. But I wasn’t much of a student. On this very calendar page I’ve pedaled to my turnaround, thinking I was feeling good, made the 180 and whispered inside:
I laugh at my miscalculation. Thirty years later and I can still be humbled.