The Bikin' Fools



War is always bad.

So there I was, rocketing down the Oat Hill. It was another glorious ride, one of special grace, one whose moments were filled with the exquisite elixir of glorious natural beauty, serenely fertile skies and a mission of serious frivolity. The ride had served me so well. I was in need of something beyond the routine maintenance effort. The serendipitous sequence of events led me to the parking lot at RLS. Friend Mark graciously provided the transportation link. Presto! There may be no better mt. bike ride in the world. It starts with a lush, moderate and smooth single track to the old, old toll road. Not too many even know of its existence. Then the old toll lets one rip as fast and as hard as they feel. It is, for the most part, smooth, predictable and moderately downhill. It travels though a most beautiful forest.

War is always bad. It has no roots in justice, humanity or fairness. It is one of the most vile and repugnant tools available to mankind. It’s tool shed harbors aggression, the most extreme violence, avarice, power and domination. Why should we honor violence and injustice. It not only makes no sense, it hurts…

At the bottom of the Old Toll, one gets to warm up the climbing muscles with nearly a level mile of improved and paved road. Then one jumps over the boundary of normality and begins to pursue, in earnest, the full mt. bike experience. It has, but is not limited to; fun, work, bears, streams, all five degrees of technical challenge, lions, awesome scenery, cool cross country riding, raging downhill, the most gorgeous sunset views imaginable, jumps, air checks, banked turns and awesome beauty.

Going to war in Iraq, or anywhere else in the world is mankind’s equivalent of a wreck. They both are wake up calls to become immediately aware of just how fragile this life, this world is. We are not so invulnerable as we would like to think. On the contrary we are very open to disaster. We needn’t help from those of the lower brain stem persuasion. They have lost touch with life, they know not of stackage…

The modern war is a video game. For those of us, in the U.S., we will feel no, see no and touch no pain. Like the Gulf War it will be sanitary and antiseptic. We will not have to view the horrors of war and its aftermath. We will not toss at night with visions of untold suffering. We will be insulated from the death, pain, disintegrated bodies and lives that are created in your name and my name. We the tax-paying, ss# numbered Citizen.

While we can spend untold millions of dollars to perpetuate a dangerous military system, we cannot seem to find it within our collective will to spend far fewer dollars to insure that all citizens have access to health care, i.e. stitches… eight of them. That’s all I ask. But no, I have to do them myself..

Shortly after picking myself off of the rocks, as the endorphin rush sent me towards Pluto, I had the thought: Gosh, this sacrificial letting of blood that I was experiencing, was nothing compared to millions who are victim to the advocates of war. It is only the innocent who are maimed and killed. The rulers never get a scratch. The biggest hazard for the folks who send your children to war is a sprained wrist from high fives at the cocktail party. Your children receive permanent injuries, whether physical, mental or psychic. They will be injured by the military.

It is the military’s job to brainwash innocent humans so that they can overcome one of nature’s most instinctual prohibitions; killing fellow members of the same species. The young recruit must be no older than 25. After that one becomes fully an adult and begins to question things. Before that, the child will do what is ordered by the elders…

I couldn’t help but notice the contrast in my day. What had proceeded as a special event, suddenly took a side track to the penalty box. I got to face my worst bikin’ fear: DEADMAN’S GULLY!!! And failed.

"Oow, oow, oow," I said with sincerity. "Oow, oow, oww."

The wreck wasn’t the most spectacular on record, but it’s a shame no one was there to see it. It was a quick "otter" type of stack, the trouble being that it was on rock and Mr. Right Knee graciously absorbed most of the impact. The elbow, thigh and back competed for the endorphin awards. Somehow the bike managed to land on top of this tragic scene as if in revenge of years of bike abuse. Something powered into my calf and it cramped immediately. I had two competing situations. I went from heaven to hell in a moment. When I determined that nothing significant was actually damaged, I felt slightly better.

I was only ten minutes from the finish of this eighteen mile ride. I had ridden this section hundreds of times. Now, shaken I wobbled down the trail. Slowly, slowly I picked up speed until I was again a candidate for more endorphin abuse. Why? Life goes on. It has to do with accepting the fragility of the whole thing and deciding not to stay in bed all day. When I got to town, I made the rounds and proudly showed my battle blood. My bikin’ brothers treated me like a conquering warrior. They perhaps, should be quick to highlight the stupidity of such damage. But we all share the same experience. Nearly all of the time we stay on the safe side of the whirling vortex of disaster. But once in a while we come close. In that moment one becomes wholly assumed into the glorious moment and for a fleeting instant, that person slips the constraints of normality and dances precariously on the edge of life’s cosmic fire.

The dance happens in war also. There is a glorious quality that makes it so dangerous. If it didn’t hurt, it would be fun.