October 14, 2006


Music | Ujamma by Archie Shepp

The blue of the oncoming evening was enhanced by the amber lights along the St. John's Bridge. It is still early, but the dark comes much earlier than the last time I wrote about this typical ride I often did in the middle of summer. I hit 3rd and 4th gear flying over the Willamette. The air is brisk, sharp against my cheeks where the wind hits the bare skin. I'm all ready prepping myself for a bone chilling cold, the type where you can only experience with self inflicted wind chill. It is dark, only my head light lighting the ever turning road, climbing up. I'm not at all familiar with this ride. I'm overly cautious, due to slower reflexes from the cold and the limited view. I keep the fear of deer crossing out of my head. There has been a spill of some sort, tracking the middle of the lane. I have no idea what it is, only using all my concentration to not be ontop of it thru a curve. "It isn't oil," I keep telling myself, but the fear keeps creeping in my head. It seems this streak of liquid lasts for miles, but finally, suddenly disappears. Finally a sense of freedeom, I open up the throttle, smooth transitions thru the gears, up shifting, down shifting, braking and throttling. A few miles go by and I don't remember a thing.

I'm enjoying myself, high off the last few miles, but getting colder. I still opt for the longer ride to my destination, my café on NW 23rd. I'm imagining the Americano, inside in the warmth. I can't get back into the groove, the road is being repaved and I can barely see anything. Ironically, the ride is suddenly over as I hit the stop lights where civilization abruptly begins. I'm glad it is over. A mile or so down the business strip, surpriingly not crowded for a Saturday night, but it is still early. I write, I drink my americano and I warm.

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