Tonight was perfect for ruminating and riding. As a bone moon rose my heart was in my stomach, sitting there yearning with two eggrolls. The arboretum at dusk teemed with crickets and katydids and whatever else croaks and chirps as the sun goes down.
Today was my last day as an Arnold Arboretum intern. It was beautiful and hot and full. I said a lot of goodbyes, and realized that I had forgotten that I would be saying goodbye, because even though I’ll still be living nearby, close enough for volunteering and walking and living alongside the plants and the people and the chipmunks and the dogs, I will be doing something different, that something is ending.
Riding home I realized that I was alive because I was moving through shadows and the air was taking all of the sweat from intention and devotion and making it cool on my skin. I saw the moon, the parked cars shining under streetlights.
I was coasting, finally, after huffing it up a short and amazingly steep hill. It was before the golf course. The air was a little bit thick, light with the lessened humidity of day but with something like a pollen tinge or a taste of fog. It was enjoying the street, lofting in trees. I rode without moving my body, surrendered to momentum and breezes and September. To the coming and leavings of my life in these weeks.
I remembered the summer of 2005, biking down Milwaukee with good friends late at night; the sweetness of quiet riding, the ease of streets after a long day of heat rising and wavering from concrete. I remembered watching the skyline of my home with Murray, of leaving Casa Maria with Aytan.
What makes city streets so magical on summer nights (or even mid-September ones) is akin to the giddiness of waking up to a window whitened with snow. The colors leave and are replaced with charcoals or brightness. On a night like tonight everything urban is cloaked in a rich darkness, queenly and quiet. It feels good to move within streets so dressed up and mysterious, so beautifully at odds with the wiliness of morning traffic and sun on a sidewalk.
Anyway, Robert Frost sums this all up much more elegantly here.
Image thanks to Pixadus