When I ride I feel the wind and the breeze on my face. In the winter I can’t help but feel it. I always feel the breeze on my lower leg where the wind catches the open flap of my jean bottoms and the uncovered leg above my low cut socks. Even in the early parts of spring do I have to wear enough clothes that the sharp northern torrents freeze me, the ones Chicago is notorious for. I think that is why spring is so special. We hide so long from the wind, covering ourselves that we can’t really let ourselves just be. We are cooped up in our apartments and houses sheltered from life, from the spring air. At least, this is how it is in the Midwest. In the temperate zones of the world. We embrace spring in a full open arms kind of way. Arms outstretched in t-shirts and shorts before we really should. It is a fever really. Spring fever – how quaint. The people of California, only the parts those who don’t live in California or near by thing of when someone mentions California, must be miserable. They have to think we are sad, with our snow and cold weather. We bear it. We know spring is coming.
I rode my bike through winter, all but the month of December and a few days here and there in November. I had thought it too cold to ride. Fed up with wasting thirty more minutes of my day waiting, I tried riding again.
The first thing you notice when riding your bike in January, is that in fact you are riding your bike in January. The grid street system of Chicago lends itself to what I like to describe as ‘tunnel wind’. I don’t really ever describe it as this, I just say ‘the damn wind’ or something. But I felt the need to say it this way here. No matter. From the years spent in front of the TV and even watching the Weather Channel a bunch, I found out that the jet stream makes a pattern down from the farthest reaches of frozen Canada and shoot straight for Chicago and pulls itself back north over lake Michigan. So it’s cold. You get used to it, it is the wind – the force of wind so strong you question if walking would get you there faster.
A co-worker of mine describe it perfectly as though it was Jello outside. I couldn’t help but see her, me, everyone in a world of livable Jello. Moving slow, not like in slow-mo replay where we know we can return to regulation time, but a place where we know it isn’t supposed to be this slow. Everything tinted in a red or yellow. Just a big block of it maybe existing in an area where no one could avoid it. It would more of an annoyance than a hazard. The sounds of the radio muffled and distant on the inside. A smooth low hum over it all. People would live in it, just because they were different, or poor, or artistic, or just wanted to give it a run. Nothing would change, no damage to electric lines, we just move and live in it.
I’ve been thinking of a way I could dictate on my bike – something about motion makes me want to write. Trains, cars, planes – these are the places I want to write. Now I’ve got the bug on my bike and I’m getting things, little snippets of things that are like wisps of dreams that I’d like to capture. Talk to my phone to jot it all down. Just a thought I guess.