Bags of Bran

November 12, 2014, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Biography | Tags:

Recently, which is the short way of saying two days prior to today, which would, by my reckoning, place the date at November the tenth, Twenty and fourteen, Anno Domini, it snowed. And by “snowed,” I mean “rained, then snowed, then rained some more, then froze, then snowed just a little bit more.” For those of you who are keeping track at home, you may be able to picture the thick carapace of ice that has become one with the streets for the next seven months or so. Currently it is dusted with light, fluffy snow.

This is a real problem.

I only live .6 mile away from the church building where my office lives and moves and has its being. It’s not a half mile, and it’s not a kilometer; at least it’s not a kilometer unless I check the mail at both ends of the journey. But the point is, I’m not going to drive .6 of a mile. Not while I have 4.5 functional bicycles and a dandy pair of hiking boots, all of which need to go for walks regularly to maintain good muscle tone.

But this thick slab of ice, extending in many areas from gutter to gutter for fifty foot stretches, wants to kill me. There are little ruts that grab my little tires and try to send them in directions that Sir Isaac Newton does not want them to go, and I’m the one caught in the middle. I’m the one who will knock all that there fancy book-larnin’ out of my skull, or shiver my collarbones to smithereens, or–worse than either of those–wreck my bike.

I’m not ready to shell out the money for studded tires. Not yet. Close, but not yet. I’ve been surviving with the outrigger technique, in which I may be found traversing some of these massive sheets of corrugated ice with one foot just skimming the surface, a light grip on the handlebars, and not even a wayward glance at the brakes, teeth clenched, breath held, thinking “flow like a mountain stream.” I coast across the ice to the next small dry patch where I try to pick up enough speed to make it across the next sheet of ice. And I repeat, for .6 of a mile. I’m not going to drive.

One of these days, some hidden fist of ice is going to knock my front tire out of line on the wrong side, the outrigger technique will be exposed for the placebo that it is, and Sir Isaac Newton, with heart full of brotherly compunctions, will have no other choice than to send me cratering to the pavement.

But I’m not driving .6 of a mile.


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