Nice and Easy

I’ve been trying to meditate every day.  Nothing too lofty, fancy or flaky:  just to sit calmly and not let my mind wander.  To think as little as possible.  After I sit a while and slow down, meaningful things might bubble up.  If I pay attention it feels like I can get back in touch with my rudder, what really matters, and let the rest drop away.  Which seems important on these unsure seas in which I find myself.

But there are side effects; if I consciously slow myself down, later I may speed up.  I often have a hard enough time slowing down my thoughts before falling asleep, but the night before last it felt like I was melting down.  My thoughts ran out of control and I was a passive observer, just watching, letting them run until finally they were exhausted.  I couldn’t even try to talk myself down, it felt that out of control.  It was a new experience.

Or yesterday, after feeling calm and happy, I reverted in the evening to a storm of frustration, sensitivity and general weirdness.  Where did that come from?  It’s hard to explain.  It almost feels like I’m altering the tides inside myself, upsetting a balance, perhaps to learn a new one.

The other side effect is more invigorating:  after sitting a while and coming back, the world bursts with texture and color.  The last few days I’ve felt this acutely when I hopped on my bike to go for a ride:  the outside world was overwhelmingly psychedelic.  I rode to the end of Elk River Road with wide eyes, startled by the beauty, feeling so much it was disorienting.

Yesterday I was spinning leisurely down Tompkins Hill Road, on my way to Table Bluff, when a cyclist came alongside to say hello.  I was so startled I cried out and nearly jumped off my bike.  He shrugged and went around.  But when I regained my bearings I pulled up to chat with him.  He was a stout guy, barrel chested like a contractor, in full Live Strong kit riding a Lance Armstrong Trek, commuting south to Fortuna over Tompkins Hill.

He told me a story:  Yeah, there’s this guy me and my friend often see out here, another cyclist, dark skinned, Hispanic, who’s not very talkative.  The last time we ran into him he said, Sorry guys, I can’t keep up with you today, I was up all night dancing around the fire at the beach, and when the flames finally went out I held the extinguished coals in my hands.

“Cool story!” I said.  “Maybe I’ll see you out here some other time” he said as we parted ways, him to his hill and me to my bluff.

Out at the Alpaca Farm on Hookton Road they were mating.  I’d never seen that before; it looked like a leap frog accident.  Then I turned up Clough Road, a brutal little climb to the top of the ridge I’d been anticipating–finally a climb hard enough to make me stop thinking, only ride, breathe, crank to the top.