I’m determined to ride my bicycle to work once a week until it gets too cold for the 30-mile round-trip journey. I go the long way, the beautiful way, the back-road way.
This week I began in a sunny day, then descended into the town of Cheshire and the morning foggy mist, climbing again above the fog along the ridge that looks out across to the whole Greylock range.
Riding to work is relatively easy, rolling hills, a couple of minor climbs and lots of glorious hills to descend. Coming home, well, those same hills I got to descend are the ones I must ascend, unless I go along the Ashuwillticook, which I often do, riding no handed and singing to myself nearly the whole way. (I still then must ride up the hill to my house, the last trial of the day.)
Part of my happiness project is to remember to do the things that make me happy. Riding my bike ALWAYS does this, whether it’s on the road or in the woods, whether it’s uphill, downhill or a flat. Nothing beats that feeling of flying.
Going down Hill on a Bicycle, A Girl’s Song*
Henry Charles Beeching, 1859-1919
WITH lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.
Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:–
‘O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.
‘Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a girl
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!’
Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.
Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.
Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.
*Title–my edit– originally A Boy’s Song