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Donnerstag, 18. Februar 2016

Riding home...

 This is not an altogether joyous post. I had been craving to get outside and do some riding for weeks again, and eventually managed to squeeze some time in. It had snowed a little, and the sun was out illuminating a clear blue sky. I took the lane to the foothills and was encountering breathing problems and the feeling that my body was not working properly. So I shifted down some gears and just put some basic intensity effort in. It was very cold, and in retrospective I have to admit I did not dress up that sensibly and had a cold in my bones. But I was becoming a little bit nostalgic when I thought about ´em days when I used to soar up the inclines and hammer down the hills. Alas, these times are well over now and will not come back. I remember a lot of cool rides with friends with not so much of a single worry, hooting and hollering down impossible terrain just for the bollocks and the fun. But those friends are gone and turned out to be no friends in the first place, and I had spent 25 years in the least living in an illusion.

The trails, however, have nothing to do with this. They are not an illusion. The way I ride has changed altogether. While I still like to do some technical trails and get some airtime in, it is not that important anymore. It is the silence and solitude of the forest that I so dearly need, and in order to get there cheap I use my bike.
 Plus, if anything goes awry with my bike, I will not be able to repair it for lack of money. Mostly my own fault, really, for I could get social allowances maybe to stock up my meagre salary, but I want to live my life according to my own designs. Money that you get from slavers makes you a slave. This I do not want at all. But that way you don´t go full tilt sailing over jumps, for wheels cost at least 150€. It just sucks doing a business job for 300€ less than  the average dole while being constantly at risk of being made responsible, but that´s how it is in the year 2016.

But since my body´s worn out a bit anyway, it´s not something that I should miss that much. But I realized I actually do miss it. I have ridden down the Dalco trail with an almost  rigid bike (there was no suspension other than 35mm of rubber eraser in those days). I have ridden down sheer cliffs in the Alps and I was able to fly. I rode with the gods of mountainbiking and had fun with them. I miss the flying and the carefree shredding, I miss the mountainbiking scene as it was.

Casually floating through the woods is what I need now, but I realize my life has changed a lot, and while a lot of things are really cool and one could not expect that everything always stays the same, I also must admit that I would not want to be the same idiot I once was. So I actually accept that my life is changing and has changed. But as life is generally and all over the world changing for the worst of the worst, and my life´s not THAT crappy to date, I guess I can´t complain.
 Still, I miss what was, and if I look at it realistically, will most certainly never come back again. As is, it felt good to feel the crunching ice and snow under my tyres and riding through the woods round the place where I once lived.

But thoughts occurred to me unbidden, as if in meditation. It feels somewhat weird, and sometimes I ask myself if it really did happen. It was a bit like a fairy tale, and most people look at me as if I was telling tales when I, well, tell the tales of my life. I grew up in a world that can and shall not be real, and the rulers of our world strive to annihilate even the memory of a lifestyle like this. They do not want self-reliant, they want human resources. They do not want you to make your own gear and relish in fruit from your own garden, and most certainly do they not want you to have encounters with real live animals, with fox and hare and deer and wild pig and badger and learn from them how to live wild, to kill and die and not be afraid of growth and passing. This is what teaches me even now and has taught me: All things must die, and I am no better than our cat was then which one day just went into the woods for dying in dignity. I do not want to be less than the cat I loved then as a companion, and the change that has come upon my life is a part of dying. Death is my brother who walks with me, and it is like you walk over the dark grounds of earth, and a booming step goes with you, beneath. I certainly fear death, but I am not afraid of it. I look into the face it has now, and it wears the mask of the change. But the sickle does not hit the twinkling sun that shines through the frost-enchanted branches and twigs of a forest that is, was and will be. The badger does not smile-but neither is he afraid of death or hates. He knows fury, but no hate. When he lives, he lives, when he dies, he dies. Fox hunts hare and the wolf hunts its prey, but this is a natural order. I grew up with it. Many people say I am a dreamer and this growing up of mine is a mere fancy and has never been.
 But they cannot do anything against what I am, because they do not understand. And beneath the sorrow and the sadness there is something adamantine that is not affected by sadness or even joy. It is what I really am. And in the woods, however tame or domesticated, your mask ceases to be, but you put on another, and this reflects what you really are. And it is what you really are, that´s what counts here, not what you say you are or what you want to be. There´s a lot of things I do not like about myself, but the woods don´t care. Life and death don´t care.
 The light is dim and blue, and truth is hard and cold like a sword in winter, but still the trees grow, grow up into the sky. Branches that once grew near the ground now embrace the sky. My self that was does not matter anymore, or matters in a different manner now. It is just like that my self of those years ago is part of the same tree that is my life. It still lives and thrives in that time. I do not believe in the concept of time as linear. I live now in that moment going over the cliff at Dalco as well as in the moment of writing this, and we sit down, have a cuppa and chat about it... and the self of tomorrow comes in casually and has a bit of a sit-down... and it has brought some cookies to add in to the coffee.
 And the forest grows, and the river runs two ways...
 ...and the trail has not yet ended. And that crystal-clear moment when I look at the snow in the sunlight will be there forever, but forever is but a word. I am coming of age, and I feel it in my bones. There is one moment in time, and if you are well aware, you can actually witness it. Let´s say, you sit down in an armchair, and when you get in, you are a youth still, and you sit, and you realize that when you get up, you will be an old man. This moment has come for me. It has come early for me, for I have always been old. But then I am still young, because I have always been. Sounds luna-tic, does it? Trust me, it is, and I am proud of it. But to me it is the truth.
 I rode to the place where I grew up, where I became what I am and will be. There were those tar linings on the dam which I used as a mark to practice my switchback technique as a kid... but the shutters of my home are now nailed shut and the house that meant so much to me now is slowly decaying because of neglect and to write off miscellaneous transfer assets to make even more money.
I rode those figures again... but the feeling was not there. I looked towards the house... but there were no lights lit. I looked into myself... and all was there where I left it.
 
And while all things must come to an end eventually, there is no end to anything.
 
Nequaquam vacui 

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