“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.”–Isak Dinesen
I wrote this post while on a 19 mile bike ride with my new BFF bike seat cover. I didn’t use to need a gel seat cover but one day a few years back I was riding a bumpy downhill and got tossed over the handlebars after bouncing hard on the seat (to gain altitude, apparently). It really is true that time is elastic when stuff like this happens and as the sun was at my back I had the unique perspective of living the event while simultaneously watching my shadow play it out. I distinctly remember seeing one shadow (me on bike) become two shadows (me not on bike) and I thought to myself “Houston, we have separation from the launch vehicle”. Then my face was in the dirt with my bike on top of me. ThanksBeToGod for helmets and sunglasses! My bike was relatively unscathed, as I initially thought I was, and after I thrashed around and got untangled I stood up and decided to resume my ride. Then I looked down. Hoo boy…..bleeding like a stuck pig and yes, Houston, we had a problem.
Now this was in the early days of believing that my ex was actually pursuing sobriety; in reality he was using any time I was away from the house to drink himself pickled. I called him to come and get me. He got lost. I called him again and he complained that “they” had changed the road (really? in the last thirty minutes?). He finally arrived. I was not feeling very good by then and I had him stop at a paramedic-staffed fire station on the way to the city twenty miles away. A friend of mine was on duty and I explained what had happened and apologized that she had to look down there to see if I had an arterial bleeder; at this point all the males in the area scattered like cockroaches when the light goes on. She blanched at the sight of the laceration, applied a dressing and since I was not bleeding to death I opted for non-ambulance transport to the Emergency Dept. Now this is the scariest part of all: I got into the car with my ex who, in retrospect, was impaired. I thought I was going to survive a bike crash only to die on my way to the hospital. After a minor trauma workup, some stitches and a couple of hours in the ED, we made it back home in one piece. A few days later I tracked my paramedic friend down and took her treats. She is good people.
I didn’t ride for almost three weeks but eventually got back in the saddle and that is why I now need a gel bike seat cover. Best thirty bucks I ever spent.
One reason I ride is to have some way to burn off fury; something will trigger memories from the last several years and emotions of ferocious intensity will ambush me. Without warning there is total outrage and I understand the quote “hell hath no fury…..”. I run and ride and meditate and work and settle down and get comfortable with this scorched-earth anger; a not very “nice” emotion but there you have it. If I was queen, heads would roll and I know that I don’t want to get stuck in this wrathful place. I cry and want to throw things; I stagger into Al-Anon for support and guidance; help me to want to want to….forgive? have compassion? for him? for me? I don’t even know. I let it marinate. I write, delete, repeat, post; my guardian angels really can fly as fast as my ex could drive. I lay it out on the altars of All The Powers That Be and rest, knowing that I don’t have to know. Paradox.
Then the most curious thing happens; I walk into my house and am consumed with gratitude for this place of refuge, or I revel in sitting in my little yard with Gandalf and Pippin. I can play in the dirt in my own garden. I am on my own and I am surviving and waves of thankfulness wash over me. I melt into them, sea foam hissing as it meets the lava and eventually the anger cools; I am left with new landscape; a new shoreline.
I am still standing…..and riding, and singing and and and. Isak Dinesen was right.