It’s a breezy but sunny afternoon and I’ve been cycling through the green and pleasant again. Happily traversing the gently undulating, tree-dotted and pleasantly sheepy landscape of south Northants.
As is often the case when the wind is tossing the treetops about with that lovely rushing, roaring sound, I am irresistibly reminded of the sigh and surge of waves against the shore. Idly wondering why I should find this so alluring, I have a sudden flash of child-hood memory, and am transported back to Kenya…a hotel room in Mombasa, on the coast, white curtains billowing gently on a balmy breeze, drifting in that delicious space between sleeping and waking. Tired out from a day spent frolicking in the bloodwarm waters, my bed becomes a boat and I drift off to sleep, lulled by the sound of the waves on the shore outside my window.
Then there’s the nostalgic pleasure associated with cycling, reminder of being 14 and virtually living on my bike. My most prized possession, ticket to freedom and adventure. Back in the days when that was as fast as I wanted to go, and I knew I was going to live forever.
Small wonder, then, that cycling through this land-locked sea of sound I am almost absurdly happy. Trailing twin wakes of here-and-now and there-and-then; immediately apprehended beauty and nostalgia. Amusing myself by seeing how far the nautical metaphor will go…
Negotiating a gate onto a tree fringed byway, beneath the rushing and roaring I hear the occasional creak and groan, ship sounds. I almost expect the rising, rolling curve of the hill to crest and break, like a wave. Scattered with pale shapes which drift away from me as I pass, (bleating in mild alarm) like fleecy foam carried on the current.
Best of all is belting down a narrow, tree-lined track, wind at your back – green surfing.
25mph might not sound like much, but it’s more than enough, believe me.
Especially when the track changes without warning from rough but more or less even gravel to a pitted nightmare of criss-crossing tyre and horse tracks, all baked rock hard in the sun. Coming unstuck here would definately hurt…a lot.
Thankfully, I don’t, and reach the bottom exhilerated, lightly bruised in the nether regions and with aching arms, bursting out of the green surf back onto tarmac-ed shore, shaking my head and gasping.
Wonderful…especially seeing as I didn’t get even slightly wet, didn’t have to wear rubber clothing of any sort or even ridiculously long and baggy shorts. Nor do I now feel impelled to call anybody ‘dude’.
It just made me very, very happy.
You never know… it might work for you, too.