Night Rider

Shellece_candle_danceGabrielsurleyprojectNightrider

Tonight I rode from Philomath to our house in complete darkness.  I was going to ride my bike back after dropping Intaba’s ailing Geo Metro over at Issac’s shop to see if he could fix the muffler, and didn’t head out until 330pm – again pushing up against the sunset.  What is it with me and dusk lately?  Just seems hard to get going sometimes…

The weather was cloudy with no rain, not too chilly.  Only my fingers noticed, as the wind chilled through my thin gloves.  I had two crazy red LED flashers on the rear and the helmet LED headlight on, supplemented with “Droid Light” which turns on the superbright LED flash on the phone. This was very bright and made the road mostly visible, still I didn’t feel comfortable going too fast.  Highway 34 has a wide shoulder and traffic was very light.  All this meant I could relax and enjoy my first night ride.

How to describe riding into the dark? Like pushing into the void, with just a tiny window of light ahead of me.  I had to ride on memory, and trust.  I knew this road.  I’d ridden it dozens of times this summer.  Familiar sounds:  The streams I crossed.  The dogs barking warning – bike approaching! The cars coming from the rear or ahead.  So much quieter to ride at night, in the dark.  My naturalist friend Don talked about the “base level” of sound that exists in natural environments, how much quieter the mornings are compared to afternoons.  And night.  With just a tiny window of light.  Pedaling, pushing, rolling, breathing into the dark. Winter: the season of darkness.

We celebrated Winter Solstice at the restaurant on Tuesday to a full house, with Wild Iris Tribe belly dancers, music by Gabriel Surley, Matt Rosenberg and Zach Konowalchuk, and spoken word by yours truly.  Jillian lent her expertise in running sound, making sure each performer shone through at their brightest. The show concluded with a fire ritual: we wrote what we wanted to let go of and our intentions for the new year.  Then in a circle of witnesses we read our words, spoke the truth, and threw the words and paper into the fire.  While I’m not a big believer in supernatural things, I have experienced the healing power of telling the truth to a group of supportive friends and kin.  In the circle, under a cloudy, full moon sky in South Corvallis, I almost felt the healing energy, yet part of me was holding back.  Too much fear, too much pretense, too much of a need to be “the leader”.  Maybe I can let down my mask?  To become real?  Again?  Pushing into the void, with just a tiny window of light ahead of me…

Here’s a poem I read with Zach and Gabriel playing his incredible song Acceleration (you can hear audio in the podcast below):

Winter
silent
night

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each snowflake

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each raindrop

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each breath

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each heartbeat

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each thought

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each memory

Listen
Do you hear
the space between
each space

Listen
Do you hear
in that space
the past
the present
the future
all of time

Listen

________

Listen to the podcast (audio) of the finale by the Gabriel Surley Project with spoken word by Ocean:

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View YouTube clips from the Solstice celebration: 

 

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