I’ve been riding Ezely’s bike higher and higher each day, determined to finally be comfortable with riding a bike at the “right” height which will efficiently use my muscles and energy. Where summer camp memories are formed and “best friends” are made, personal space is something that exists in a very tiny bubble which you have to actively chase after. Therefore I’ve taken to riding from main campus to outpost, moving through the webs of light cast by leaves on the towering trees that embrace the bumpy path; farther and farther away from the world that I am constantly tricked into believing that all that matters in my life solely exists there. The serene beauty of the woods still makes me stop and stare. I think about how I wish I could sit under a tree and read and write and be “one with nature”. But then the bugs circle and bite and itch and I remember why air-conditioning is still infinitely better than being outdoors.
Riding to the top of the hilly path to outpost always makes me feel more confident and powerful than I actually am. Partially out of breath from the ride up, I would get off the bike and spin it around with my hands still on the handlebars. I would look around myself and take deep breaths and be hyper aware of the lack of other human sounds, sometimes reacting overly sensitively to a bird taking off or a squirrel scurrying up a tree (Jonathan and I were watching Lost two weeks leading up to camp). Whenever I’m poised on the bike ready to take off, I imagine myself to be that kid on TV who just took up a dare devil challenge such as climbing over the fence and taking on the Beast to retrieve the Baby Ruth baseball. Although in actual fact my “challenge” is probably nothing but part of the biker’s everyday life. And then I bounce onto the seat and coast, sometimes going down a little too fast for my overcautious heart that I find myself squeezing and letting go of the brakes over and over again – you must slow down if not you will crash and they will find you only when it’s too late – no, don’t be a sissy, that’s why you’ve only been to the ER once when you were 5 (which in my mind means that I’m inherently uncool). I take deep breaths as I hear the birds chirping mingled with swooshes as stray hairs stick to my forehead. And within the split of a second I think to myself for the first time in a while – maybe I can actually do this.
Then the front wheel glides over a smooth rock planted in the muddy ground and I have to keep pedaling again.