Trips begin for many reasons. Some end for the same reason, some don’t. The best trips evolve into things steeped with substance and wonder never contained by terrestrial locations like start and destination. This was one of these.
The reason was largely irrelevant except in its sufficiency to get me setting out on the bicycle. It was an uncommonly dark night, the air laden with the rain of a few days prior, today having wound its way through the pine straw and back to where it came, still sweet with resin. As it cooled that evening, the moisture hung half in, half out, undecided whether its future lay with the air or the straw. Its flow around me had weight, not unpleasant, that refused to quit the skin despite its passing. In exchange, my passage left its diffuse impression on the air as a totem of my time with it.
Leaving the pool of the last streetlamp behind revealed the pillowy grey-black of the sky, empty of its searchlight moon and accented only haphazardly by the glitter of a star. As building yielded to field and then tree, by the silken thrum of the tires, the smoky sky found its margin at the sable tops of the trees. It flowed like a curtain, down and in, pressing in on all sides, like the air, with a palpable touch and texture, losing its grasp only at the road edge. There as if reflected, the road mimicked the same grey-black of the sky. Quiet found a close companion in the steady conversation of the tires, punctuated politely by the spring peepers not quite ready for summer.
As I flowed forward, dimension disappeared. The motion, still apparent from the air flowing by, ceased to have meaningful extent. It was, but denied any attempt at further description. It became, as the tires’ sound and the quality of the air, a texture, to be felt and enjoyed but not measured.
Then, as if to tempt me to gauge my progress, a solitary firefly ignited near the sable edge of the road. Before the temptation became something more tangible, it faded quietly away and once again, quality overcame quantity. On. Moving. And then, as if a welcome to a world without encumbrance, the universe of trees erupted in pale green aurora of fireflies. Bands and clouds, galaxies and nebulae pulsed and danced and shimmered in numbers too large to count and too beautiful to try. Enveloped and enamored. On. Moving. Bourne without direction. Afloat without weight. Reward without toil. Aware and unconscious.
Unmistakably, the glowing pool of the lamp rises ahead it’s meaning at once apparent. Motion becomes relative to other things. Quantity and quality contend for attention. A solitary yip fills the air, and languidly into the pool a fox paddles. On. Moving. And just before he exists, a slight turn, another yip. Goodbye, but only for now, to a world where magic and faeries fill the night, and little boys can fly.