Ringlets of hair flying out
As warm May wind gusts nobly
Through verdant parks lined with trees,
All standing tall like red coat soldiers
Waiting for their joyous queen.
And there she goes with arms outstretched
Like angel wings to lift her up.
I thought she’d fly away
But then I see her day after day.
That’s what makes
My staccato heart
Beat in a slightly different way.
Before we went into lockdown I was walking through the park by my house when a woman zoomed past on her bike. She was on a downhill stretch on the grass and as she gathered speed she took her hands off the handlebars and tilted her head back as the wind hit her face. I watched her and I just thought she was a bit weird.
A week or two later I saw her doing the same thing again. I thought that perhaps she had set herself the goal of riding with no hands and she must be practising each day. Another person walking their dog stopped to watch and I couldn’t help but feel that the woman was making a bit of a spectacle of herself.
I’ve seen her a few times since and there is always a dog walker that stops and stares at this grown woman acting like a child on her bike. I felt sorry for her until I saw her again this evening.
I had just finished a run and I could feel that glow that comes at the end of a good few sunny miles. The woman was at the top of the hill preparing herself for her descent and I slowed so that she could pass first.
She sped past me with her arms wide, and for the first time ever, I saw her face as she passed close by. She looked utterly joyful, free and happy. And I felt like I suddenly understood.
When I was a kid one of my favourite movies was City of Angels and I was always particularly fond of the scene where Meg Ryan cycles along the edge of Lake Tahoe with her arms spread. She has just found the love of her life and you can’t help but feel that she is in heaven. I always wanted to feel that.
I just wanted to write that because it’s so easy to judge someone when they do something silly or outrageous. But to them it might not be silly at all. It might be the one slice of their day that is pure bliss. And isn’t that what we all want?