Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Southwestern* Superterraneans...

8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
19. Accept loss forever
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better

—Jack Kerouac, from a list of 30 "essential" rules of good prose found in his book Belief and Technique for Modern Prose

Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.
—Jorge Louis Borges

Crunch of pine needles and clickclack of broken stone bits and shush-shush of dry leaves up the mountain, up up, turning the pedals slowly, slowly, winding a make-believe clock (mortality), standing leaning arching pushing turning them over and over and over and me as empty inside and duty-dumb as ol' Sisyphus, pulling on the bars and pushing on the pedals where he (cunning king of Corinth or Ephyra really, deceiver of Death and piper-payer) put shoulder to stone with no end in sight, always the turning, turning, turn this wheel to turn that wheel (the one back there) to turn these wheels two wheels like the boulder rolling turning endlessly and up the mountain go I slowly, heart a big ol' triphammer hammering away at sternum inside pounding on the bony door. Thanksgiving over and gone and the mountain keeps giving breathes its cold breath and me breathing mine warmer with every turn painful because of lack of this all year, this riding on dirt, the climbing and everything and trying not to think about it. And me with one speed only, the only one with it choosing hell when there's a choice.

John makes the spot first, the spot of rest where everything dies back a little and the march ends for a little while too (trail runs up straight ahead and also to the right and down another trail) with me the next one to stop. Lean my bike and breathe and breathe more and pull out the camera—click-flash, rob it all in little bits—the magic green-ness of everything around us defiant against the season and also against the brown dead (tho really still living) trail under our feet. The trail a mix of snow now, but mostly shale and pine needles and leaves shows us the way up, the long way that winds back on itself almost (almost Ouroboros) again and again and again to disappear above, to stop and rest too, at the top. Jeff then John (other) and Tim come up behind us, catch us standing around, breathing aloud like us to say (unnecessary) that we are the same, five of us, same lungs breathin' and heart poundin' and miles and miles of irondark blood flowing like the dark trail against the pull of all the world, same right now, near the top of this Allegheny mountain, silent hulk alone but not ever lonely.

We don't wait around long, but move on up, up again then straight for a stretch then winding and up again, repeat repeat and all the while no time for beauty of majestic outdoors, just pedaling onward, up, eyes just seeing seeing what the trail wants them to see. Words gasps for air, just hot breath shudders in cool air until the top, the peak, comes into view. A little more then we rest again and I cover myself with a jacket against the coming cold. This spot is the tipping point threshold between all that beautiful thatside pain and the coming joythrill of thisside heading down, head up, easy and unforced and free, hugging the holy contours buried beneath the leaves. Speed is all, pulling it under control then letting it play then reigning it in again (at switchbacks) then letting it go on the straightaways and it's the fearthrill that takes over now, the dizzying letting go that is everything the reason we came.

STONY RUN to MIDDLE MOUNTAIN to SALT STUMP then PINE TREE and MIDDLE HOLLOW to LAUREL VIEW to BLUE SUCK FALLS and the end and the bits before the end a bouncing blur of tree trunks and silent mountainside whizzing by, abyss now on the left now on the right and back again left, and everywhere leaves fill the trail the ribbon hidden and the tires just being tires rolling under worldly fiat, white knuckles (mine) on the bar white as flecks of snow flying by, and on down to the park road and already I smell the beer I swear right through the glass bottles waiting on ice in the cars, waiting, waiting. But instead bypass the parking lot nowhere near it and head out for the second part, up BEARDS GAP to BRUSHY HOLLOW and down again down WILLOW CREEK and then back to the park road and rolling along asphalt black as the coming night and then the lot, the beer at last the beer, ah yes.

*Virginia, that is. Douthat State Park, to be specific.


DT said...

Man, I miss those trails! Looks like you guys had some great weather down there.

Blue-eyed Devil said...

Yeah, I climbed in a t-shirt; the air was cool but I got warm quickly. Of course, the descents were another story...

Rob said...

Nice, I still have to make the fall Douthat MORE event. I've bought tickets 2 years in a row and had to bail both times. GRRRRrrr.