The Bikin' Fools
When Lindsey calls it means one thing; "Hey Eric, I was thinking about a bike ride today. You have time to go?"
Not only would Eric take the time, but the Dr. J. had also indicated that he might be willing to juggle his schedule to accommodate such activity. The plan was to do the Pickett loop, though Mike was thinking rollers.
It was one of those days that make the California experience worthwhile. This Wednesday, December 15, 1999 was such a beauty that it made being in the Napa Valley worth all of the effort that it takes to live here. The air was clear, the sky sported only a few wispy, high cirrus clouds and the temperature was as ideal as it gets for an outdoor adventure. The ride up to the view rock proceeded with ease. At the rollers turn-off, Mike asked; "Are we turning off here?"
"Ahh, we were sort of thinking of going over the top." Lindsey stated.
Mike who is normally pressed for time could only mount weak resistance to the idea of an extended ride. They day, the moment was too nice. The trio made good time getting up to the Holmes place where the three took the time to consume a few "loony" bars.
"This aint too shabby, you know it!" Eric stated.
"Yea, it sure beats working." Lindsey added.
"It sort of gives the feeling of being one of the chosen few. I know I should be working to support all of the burden of living in this world, but it seems to be important to smell some of the flowers along the way." Mike said.
"Youre totally right," Eric agreed, "If one doesnt slip the surly bonds on occasion, this life becomes a grind that crushes the mind and spirit. This little bike ride represents a huge deviation from the norm, yet it is just such experience that makes this life worthwhile."
The upper section of the Oat Hill is a series of unrelenting technical challenges. Each one is rideable but they come one after the other until the biker finds him(her)self flogged, wheezing and seeing stars. On this day, Eric cleaned the lower baby heads and made it all the way to the sunset section without a dab. A new record for Eric. But it came at a price. As he proceeded up the concrete pitch he began to hallucinate. In his fuzzy vision he saw the image of a beautiful young jogging nymph. As the illusion passed, Eric knew that to turn and look may spell disaster on the tricky technical section. Yet the urge to look was too strong. Eric turned. As his brain experienced the rush of sensual overload, there were not enough receptors left to negotiate the trail. When the next identifiable image appeared, it was the sky.
The setting at the Holmes place is serenely beautiful. From the top of the Palisades, the view of the Napa valley and points to the west unfolded in artistic splendor. On this day, the soft and velvet green was bordered by a baby blue sky. The new grasses were still short and green, making such areas a virtual carpet. The addition of huge amounts of endorphins and adrenaline added to the heightened sense of euphoria. It seems strange that hard physical work will yield such a bounty, yet it does. To further the enhanced effect, the hard breathing required to attain such power forces the bikin humanoid to practice the discipline of vaipassna meditation or "riding the breath". This ancient Zen technique frees the mind of clutter and places the bikinsattva directly in the here/now. It is in this very moment that joy arises.
The road from the Holmes place climbs sharply towards the top of the hill before the hidden, special place. A description will be foregone do to the extraordinarily beautiful setting, least the word get out. The shear inaccessibility of this garden spot will keep the great masses at bay. As the three headed into the woods, Michael suddenly declared: "I smell mushrooms."
The hunt was on. The three spread out and combed through the woods looking for anything that might hint of the special beings that inhabit the forests.
"Check this out" Mike suddenly said. Eric and Lindsey came over to look.
"See this bump on the duff," Mike said with eyes gleaming, "Ill bet theres a mushroom under there."
Mike carefully pulled the mat of pine needles away from the lump on the ground. The deep full colors of reddish brown appeared as the mushroom was reveled. Its presence made a statement. (Were not sure exactly what the content of the statement was specifically, but the resultant mind-bogglement at this precious little scene was worth the entire effort to get to that spot.)
"Is it edible? Lindsey asked.
"Possibly," Mike said, "But there is one that looks identical and is very poisonous."
Time was becoming a factor. The sun was beginning to settle into the lower section of the sky. Soon the cool winter air would begin to fill the valley and the sun would slip past the horizon after painting the wispy clouds beautiful colors. It would be only 10 days until the solstice, then the return of the light for yet another cycle and another year of life, adventure and intrigue. There was the sense of benediction for this ride as the precursor to the planned Lunar event of the Millennium. This reassuring notion comes as a moment of truth that life is good and we are blessed. It takes a little effort to get to the "view spot", but each turn of the pedal brings us a little closer.