bike to u of m and back: 7 miles
Hot. Windy. Sunny. Feels like July or August, not May. Biked to the library at the U to skim through a few books I might want to buy. I do, at least one of them: Roger Deakin’s Water Log. Feeling ready to write more about water and my love of swimming. Strange to walk in the building. I haven’t been in it since I left the academy 6.5 years ago. Hardly anything has changed. Same steps. Same stacks. Same study tables. Different me. I miss being at the library, swimming in books. In Water Log, Deakin describes how swimming in water is an other-worldly experience. Submerged, your senses working differently in a dark, watery (almost) womb. Sitting in the middle of the library, surrounded by stacks, is not the same as swimming, but it generates similar feelings of being submerged and in a time/space that is in-between. Maybe I should think more about these two activities together?
As usual, most of my thoughts while biking were about staying alert and cautious. Paying attention to other bikers and trying to avoid potholes. It felt good to ride, even though it was hot. At first, I was angry by all the bikers coming from the other direction, biking beside each other and hogging the path. With my lack of depth perception and my inability to quickly process some images, passing so close to other bikers is very scary. At some point, I decided I would stop worrying and just try to smile–not at others but for myself. Doing this helped. Much better than my old approach: rehashing the close encounter in my head and imagining how I would confront the bikers and shame them with an explanation of how dangerous their biking was for someone like me, with macular degeneration. Will I ever be able to lose myself in a bike ride, letting my thoughts wander like in a run or a swim, or is it just too dangerous to not always be focused? As I bike more this summer, I hope to find out.