I had a bicycle when we lived in the house on Benton Street. I kept it in the basement where my darkroom was. Each morning I rolled the bike up the crumbling drive beside the garden where only mint flourished. I’d tried to grow tomatoes and chrysanthemums. No luck. Probably because I was a good sower and a poor tender. There were other things I preferred to do in the evenings after work – like sit on my neighbor’s deck and drink her wine. But in the mornings I rode my bicycle. I rode down the alley behind my house. Made a right turn on Huidekuper (where it was rumored that Bob Dylan had lived for a time) then down Benton to Tunlaw, which is walnut spelled backwards – so named because of all the walnut trees that grew along the sidewalk where I rode my bicycle to avoid traffic until I could get to Massachusetts Avenue. I ended up at Haines Point. My route took me counter-clockwise. Water always on my right side. The “Awakening” at the Point. Rubbed to a high sheen by all the heinies that slid down its giant arm. On my early morning rides Haines Point was deserted except for the other cyclists I met. The ones that rode clockwise. We acknowledged each other with a smile. Nothing more. No words. No music. Just the wind in my ears as I pedaled as fast as I could. Trying to outpace all those doubts.
I asked John to get me a bicycle for Christmas this year. I’ll keep it in the garage at our house on Mill Creek. I’ll have to push it up our steep driveway, but after that I’ll have miles and miles of territory to explore. I’ll ride into Solomons for ice cream and stop to watch the boats on the Patuxent. I’ll listen to the music coming from the pier. No reason to pedal fast anymore. Nothing to run from now.