Maybe Even Ten

Dusk blankets the day in cool air filled with the light scent of privet and almond.  I pedal my bike behind my husband; the two of us fly past evening strollers dawdling their way along Old Garden Road and Marmion Way.

Daylight clings to the sky in stripes of blue brushed with rich rose and peach; the salty air fills my lungs with sweetness and exhilaration.  We pedal along South Street and turn left at the fork, stopping first at Cape Hedge Beach to watch the tide come in.  The waves roll in like wild horses on a lush blue, foaming prairie of sea.  We turn and struggle back up the hill, then glide our bikes down Penzance Road and onto the soft sandy pavement at Pebble Beach.  The colors of the sky grow richer as we pass Cambourne Pond.  We slow ourselves down to seek out the swan couple and their signet.  The little family, their long necks tucked into their wings, is nestled among the tall grass that borders the pond.  They are settled in for the night.

We pedal slowly along the marsh, listening to the frogs burbling deep in the reeds.  Red-winged black birds perch precariously atop the tall timothy grass, calling their night-trill, the sky indigo behind their bright flecked wings.  We speed up to take on the hill heading to Eden Road and then pause at the rise to gaze at the Twin Lights of Thatcher Island.

How quickly dusk  grows into dark.  We have no headlamps on our bikes, so take the rest of the ride at high speed.  We are birds, flying down the long, long hill on Marmion Way, then we are steam engines as we press up the last big hill before Old Garden Road.  I am eighteen again for a moment— a flash of memory takes me to pedaling along the bike path that runs beside State Beach in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, rushing home before dark on my dad’s old ten speed bike, free and young and happy.

My muscles strain to fly again, my husband’s too, and we take the hill fast-fast, gaining momentum enough to make the final hill with breath to spare.  We both slam on our brakes as we reach the driveway, laughing together, hopping off of our bikes.  We stuff them back into the garage, tear off our helmets, and race up the back stairs.  I still feel eighteen, or maybe even ten.

A stolen bike ride can do that, you know.

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One Comment on “Maybe Even Ten”

  1. Craig Says:

    HA! I remember that ride. We almost never ride in the evening, almost always in the early morning. I had just finished mounting your new bike speedometer/odometer/calorimeter/thermometer/clock-thingie…. and said, “Let’s go take if for a test run.”

    What I thought was going to be a short evening loop around the block turned into a full ride on our regular route. It was so different riding at dusk. I loved it, too. (Let’s get some headlights/tail lights for our bikes before the next one.)


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