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August 17, 2006



bing bing

I spent the last seven days straight on a Carbusters magazine production marathon--
12-16 hr days, then sleeping upstairs on a fold-out cushion. It was time to go home.
The 20:06 (trains run on "military" time) was 35 minutes late, so I got to Kutna Hora
well after dark. I was a little concerned about riding home because my bike has no
lights (duhhhh...) and of course this was the one time I forgot my pocket LED. To my
pleasant surprise, the trail along the railroad track is lighted by tall towers, so that
part was easy and I cruised the warm summer evening. But once I crossed the tracks
and Highway 38, there were no more lights and I rolled slowly along farm roads on a
moonless night, impossible to see the edge of road and hitting many potholes. Slow.
I turned down the corn field double-track dirt road. Smell of crops and stars above. I
was torn between wanting to take my time enjoying it--the dark, the quiet, the stars,
the smell--and rushing home towards the light of the illuminated church tower. Being
alone in the dark dark of an open field touched on some primal fears--animals, thieves,
ghosts!--but it also brought me closer to the Mystery than I've been in a long time. My
senses were opened wide and alert to subtleties. I inched forward but didn't stop, felt
pockets of warm and cool air on my skin, groundlevel drafts and microcurrents, listened
to animals moving in the dark, rode by feel while looking up into the stars.Was that glow
over the horizon the moon about to come up or the lights of a distant town? I didn't stick
around to find out. Dirt abruptly gave way to pavement and the asphalt glowed under the
yellowy lights of the freshly reconstructed village street. Just like that I was back in the
realm of light, speed, and familiarity. The Mystery retreated. But at least I was home.