Night Ride

At night--when the sky is not yet navy, and when a sprinkling of stars barely begin to dot the sky--I slip out the backdoor with my beautiful, red beach cruiser, and quietly push it to the waiting, welcoming sidewalk.  I listen to the muffled hum of distant traffic and the shrill chirping of crickets in the brush.  I listen to the pedals click, click, click that moment before I take off.

I ride past the pond in my neighborhood--ducking beneath low-hanging branches of trees, avoiding mama geese and their trailing goslings.  The tang of murky water, the aromatic bite of overgrown weeds, and the earthy smell of soil fills my nostrils as I pedal and pedal.  I listen to the sound of the water.

There's a summertime breeze playing a song in my ears.  I let it lift the hair from my forehead; I let it kiss my cheeks.

And I feel a sort of freedom as I pedal through quiet, residential streets.  The kind of freedom you find in childhood.  The kind of freedom that reminds you of nostalgic times, of when your deepest concerns were Popsicle flavors and Saturday morning cartoons.  The kind of freedom enveloped in innocence.  The kind of freedom that carries simplicity in it's palms, to show you the complex contrast of adulthood.

Suddenly I wish I could run through sprinklers with my siblings.  I wish my mother could tuck me into bed.

My only company is a crescent moon--hanging low, shining true, casting light on darkened rooftops.  Like a lopsided smile in the sky, it beckons.  Urging me onward as an old friend would do.  The faster I pedal, the closer that moon seems.  And the farther away my worries become.  Autism and potty training and IEPs fall away.  Depression and anxiety falls away.  The heartbreak of criticism, the pain of human error, the monotony of maintaining a household, the chaos of busy schedules and "to-do" lists fall away--all left in the dust of a receding distance.

My white-walled tires whir around corners, and it's time to point my compass home.  It's getting darker.  I know I should turn back.  I know I must keep going.

The moon is right there.  



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