You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Saturday, June 07, 2003

The sound of the Wind and the Joy of the chase

There is a song playing in my ears, the melody of wind. A bird chirps as it flies overhead. “Do birds sing when they fly? I guess so, I never thought about it before. Maybe he hears the wind too.” The air is thick and humid; I can taste the dampness of the earth in it. The sun is settling down to rest, backlighting the clouds and filling them with color.

The cracks in the pavement add percussion to the sound of the wind rushing by as I settle back onto the saddle and spin the pedals through the next curve. My bike carries the momentum through and asks for more. It is faster than I am. Its stiff aluminum frame always wants to accelerate, faster, faster. It is happiest when you are in the big ring, arms in the drops and cranking hard, the muscles in your thighs screaming, accelerating, and hoping this time to fly.

Off in the field to the left I here someone holler out. I glance to the side and see Danny yelling, I raise my hand and wave. He waves back, but he was not yelling at me. There is a dark blur crossing the field, parallel and gaining. It’s Danny’s dog, and he wants a race.

I have been resting from the last hill and am coasting. I move to the drops and click to the big ring. The dog is just back to my left now. Twenty-two, twenty-five miles per hour, and we are running side by side. The dog has a grin on its face like a child. I can see it stretch out to its full stride as we race along. I drop to a higher gear. Twenty-eight, thirty, thirty-two, the dog is dropping back, but has not slowed at all. My legs are burning, and I am running out of breath.

We clear the top of a small rise and I see it, a slight downhill grade. I look at the dog in my eyeglass mirror he sees it too.

They say a dog can sense fear. This one senses “gone, solid gone.” He draws up and stops, panting, but the grin is still on his face. He understands the sound of the wind, and the joy of the chase. I drop into a bigger gear and accelerate, pedaling hard. The bike smiles.


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