And the Wheels Turn

I’m on my bike.

I don’t want to be. Well, I do kind of. But not really.

I’m not in shape, and my husband has no concept of time or distance.

Well, he does kind of. And I know he’ll turn back if I ask, but I also know he wants to share this time with me and that he has hopes of riding the rail trails again.

I’d rather walk. Dilly dally. Snap pictures. I’ve tucked my baby camera in the phone pocket on my handlebars. But it’s too hard to stop and get off and go again. And I’m all wobbly if I try to shoot on the run ride.

So I keep pedaling. Up and down. Round and round.

Because I know these are fence-mending moments.

Because I know that I will catch a glimpse God.

He’s ahead of me now. “How did this thing get into seventh gear?” I shout.

He stops and waits and reminds me how to downshift.

We go a short way on pavement, and then it’s gravel. Some oiled, some soft. I swerve back and forth to find an easy path, harder and smoother without so many chatter bumps. I decide I need a bigger behind or padded bike pants.

I feel a catch and a pain in my left knee. The one where the wave took out my ACL. I lean my inner wrists on the handlebars and flex my fingers. My right hand, especially, tends to go numb. My thighs throb.

I focus on the gravel that crunches under my tires like Bubble Wrap.

And the wheels turn, and time passes.

I’m determined not to give up. Determined not to whine.

I note details, and I write in my head. Try to remember this. How will I describe that?

We pass fields of alfalfa and corn and beans–where occasional volunteer corn soldiers stand guard. I see two deer on my left that turn out to be just brush formations. Something skitters in front of me. A mouse? What are those flowers?

Sue’s horses graze in the field. I tease D about the two of them being an item before we married. He insists they weren’t. Just part of the same “saddle club.” Her husband, and now her son, farm our land. I remind D how Glenwood (yes, his name–a teacher and also member of the long-ago saddle club) told me I should be prepared to have horses all my life. And how that’s part of why I married him (D.) And how we only had horses for about three or four years. And now I’m stuck with him. And he laughs.

Down the road, cows gather around the hay feeder. D points out an old red one-room schoolhouse.

There’s a musty and then peppery scent on the air. I can’t decipher what it is. But I recognize the the odor of manure.

The breeze whistles through my helmet.

A giant blood orange hangs between heaven and horizon. I beg it to stand still and wait until I can taste its deliciousness in my camera lens. But it spills its juice behind the trees, leaving only lavender and pink streaks.

And the wheels turn, and time passes.

A deer, a real one, runs parallel with us and then veers off into the corn.

We turn left, back on pavement, and the small hill just before home, just before the finish, is ahead.

Push. Push.

I’m getting cranky, and I start to whine.

My wheel slides off into soft sand. I catch myself as I start to fall, and I twist my back. So I walk the bike the rest of the way up, and I’m mad at myself that I’m grumpy. I remount and press on to the end as headlights pass us in the dusk. Black rubber turns earth brown, and a little lifeless yellow butterfly flop flops on the front tire as the wheels turn.

D offers to take me back out to snap some pictures of places we’ve passed and things we’ve I’ve seen.

We get in the car and drive.

And the wheels turn, and time passes.

Resurrected from the archives and refurbished. Linking with Ann today.

And the sisters.


  1. says

    Every joint hurts as I read this. Ah, you’re a better man than I, SHK. Fortunately, my D does not ride bikes. And he KNOWS I don’t do tennis. :>) I am walking again, at least – but that is so much a part of my own silent/solitude life that we don’t share it much. I get the fence-mending thing. Yup. There is that.
    Diana Trautwein recently posted..Our Bending-Low Jesus

    • Sandra says

      Thanks, Lyn. We’ve sprung for a recumbent exercise bike that I’ve set up right in the main living room. I’m hoping it’ll toughen me up. It’s what my surgeon recommended years ago when I had my knee surgery–but we just brought my regular bike in and set it up on a stand. :)

  2. says

    I’m always in awe of how people remember the details to tell the story later. I try. Really, I do. But it never comes out the way I want it – beautiful and poetic like this.

    I’m so glad you had the chance to go back, to see and chronicle what you missed, and to spend more time with D.

    Maybe we should initiate a week of no-whining, for the grown ups. I’m in need.

  3. says

    I love to ride a bike. Haven’t done it in years. My husband prefers to walk. Seems like there never is the perfect match in preferences, does there? I love your descriptions and photos, Sandy.
    Cecilia Marie Pulliam recently posted..Discipline