'Twas the day before Christmas,
And Dan's on the bike.
All who know him are sayin',
"Yes, that's about right!"
This half-assed attempt at poetry has very little to do with this post. Yes, I was on the bike. A couple of the pictures were taken on that day. That's not the point. Rather, it's an exercise in control. The letters do my bidding. Upon my command they form themselves into words. The words, in turn, create the structure of sentences. I am relieved that I can still make them say what I want them to. I still possess a modicum of control.
Control. How I love the sound of that word. I relish the way it rolls off my tongue. The two syllables flow so well together. They make a lovely sound as the combination of vowels and consonants create a melody. Control. Say it slowly. Savor it. My ownership of it is fading. You see, I am slowly going mad.
It's the rain. Weeks of rain feels like years. Pictures of a swollen river taken a month apart look nearly identical. The first is of the river by itself. In the second Sophie poses. Water levels are practically unchanged. My yard is a swamp. A week and a half of vacation that should have been spent riding for the sheer joy of it. Spent, instead, in a constant dance not entirely of my choosing. On the one hand, a nearly desperate need to ride. On the other, an increasing hatred for the constant wetness around me. What should be a time of cold and clear is, instead, a deluge. Except for one brief glimpse of sun. Of which, I shall write another day.
The Great Wetness is endangering me beyond the impending loss of my sanity. My enemies on the road have become more menacing to me. It has been said that there is nothing more dangerous than incompetence. Hah! Add rain slicked roads, fogged windows, and less visibility to cell phones, eating and other distractions. Ride a bike among these people strained to the breaking point of their abilities. Then tell me about dangerous!
The Weather Gods have tantalized me at times with snow flakes. Rain is suspended momentarily. Beautiful, fluffy, white morsels of snow dance in the air. Like downy feathers freed from the birds, these angelic apparitions descend slowly to earth. Aware of their eventuality, nonetheless they gently play in the air. Small breezes become playgrounds for the snow. It is wondrous to behold.
I plead with the Weather Gods for more than a taste. Please, let it snow instead of rain. I will show my gratitude for the change by playing in it. I'll ride in it, I'll make snowy statues of cheerful countenance. Just bless us with something besides this rain. With a sneer I am handed sleet and hail. What could be sensuous beauty is replaced by evil and treachery. How much can a rider take before the veneer of civility begins to crack? Always, it comes back to the rain.
Water. Clear, clean, and life-giving. It is an element essential to our survival. I'm told that we're physically constructed of mostly water. A steady supply keeps us who we are, then. In dark contrast, when reduced to droplets, water can rip a person's sanity from them. Water used thusly makes one become someone else. Cunning and evil tortures using water drops have broken the bravest of souls. Is a Road Warrior any less immune?
Drops of water by themselves amount to little harm. A splash here and there is casually brushed off. Like one brushes off a small gnat that rests upon one's skin. In a more imaginative moment, one could picture Gulliver. His hand idly scratches at a small irritation. A Lilliputian arrow has caused nothing more than a fleeting sensation. There is no hint of the mind rendering doom to come.
Doom in the form of thousands of tiny arrows, gnat swarms of Brobdingnagian proportions, and water drops in uncountable numbers.
Drops plunging from the sky are joined by their eager brethren. Each knows this attack will not mean the end for them. Water strikes then flows to the ground. Nature's cycles will see the water drops at full strength once more. It is this cycle that provides the ammunition for the nefarious warfare we experience. Sheer numbers and relentlessness enable this sodden army to claim its victims. There is no shortage of zealous kamikazes. The attack has continued for weeks. There is no end in sight. Not in the foreseeable future, at least. How much longer can I hold out before the last vestiges of control wash away with the water?
There are those who say I should retreat. They try to make a case that I am contributing to my own growing insanity by continuing to fight. I am told I have only to stay indoors or leave the bike at home. Away with them, I say! I have signed on to bear the King's standard. We ride to work. We ride for work as much as possible. Two wheels are emblazoned on our Coat of Arms. A true Warrior does not fight only when things look favorable. We are trying to affect a change in our world. Greatness does not come without sacrifice. The more cheaply a thing is acquired, the less it is valued. Retreat is not an option. I will continue despite this adversity.
Each day will bring a new assessment of my diminishing control. It will be a race to see which resource expends itself first. The liquid ammunition of the Weather Gods or my own mental strength. I shall either prevail or go quite mad. Time will tell. For now, I am back into the rain. My sodden cat is out of food. Her belly and mine drive me to the store.
Miles and smiles,