Wednesday, June 12

Cranking Nostalgic

When I was a kid I remember riding in my parents' car along Turkey Knob on summer nights, looking out the window, and seeing constellations of fireflies blurring past, making it seem as if that old Ford LTD was jumping into hyperspace.

Fireflies also blur when you ride a sporty sport bike in the friscalating dusk light of a June evening through Powell County farmland along a narrow ribbon of asphalt.

I left the city park when it was obvious Boone's little league team had sealed the win for the evening, and my little Andy Kaufman/Babe Ruth wasn't going to be up to bat anymore.  I was on the Dogrunner equipped with a Laser and a stolen airstrip beacon (rear blinky light).

I'd rarely ridden a bike through the Kentucky darkness.  And I echo the immortal wisdom of the Fonz as he told Ritchie and the gang that when riding your bike you should smile with your mouth closed to keep the bugs out of your teeth.

They're good protein, right?  I'm sure the bats that swooped into the beam of The Laser thought so just before they were vaporized.

After work last night I mowed our acre of alfalfa and trimmed all the trees in the yard so next mowing I could get closer to the trunks.  Mandy and the kids had gone over to town as I was finishing the grass to make it on time to the game.  I was a sweaty mess when I finished the yard, and I decided I'd ride the two miles over to the ball field.  

The boys played well.  We visited with some other parents.  A magistrate, one former teacher at my alma mater, came up and introduced himself.  He'd seen my profile in the last issue of the newsletter from work and recognized my name.  He was an Ag teacher and had most of my uncles in class at one time or another.

It feels good to be working for the community that spawned me.  It feels good to know that I finally have the ability to influence for positive change in my small world.

There is something deeply satisfying about applying all of my experience to simply moving about in my hometown.  I left the ballpark with lights blazing, feeling confident in my ability to ride my bike home in the dark.  It was comforting and enjoyable.  It made me happier than I would have expected.  I had a "Yehuda Moon moment."

Our recent reshuffling has been difficult.  People keep asking if its good to be home.  That's a complicated answer.  I just say "yes" because that's what everyone expects me to say, and most often they're asking just to makes small talk anyway.  But it's not that cut and dried.

A few months before I got the job and we moved I desperately wanted to move back.  I was playing the escape artist, trying to find a way out of the chains of a job I was unhappy with.  I knew that in looking toward home I was just looking for a way out.

So when the new job opportunity presented itself I had to be certain the decision to move was about the new opportunity--a good opportunity--and not just me running from my problems, refusing to look those problems in the eye.

I can say that the opportunity was worth it.  It's a standalone justification for our move, and its proving to be even more than I could have hoped for.  We made the call and it's proved true.  I had feared that my judgement was clouded.  I'm becoming more sure each week that it wasn't.  That's the cake.

The icing is that I am comforted by being back on familiar terrain, revisiting the halls of memory all too frequently, reanalyzing my world view with my new experiences as a filter, and being able to reapply what I've learned on the roads that I know best.

I missed the night sky, the mellow blinking of fireflies, and the sound of whippoorwills from the back porch.  Those things alone weren't enough to justify moving back, but they've eased my mind at times when the turmoil of moving has almost been too much.  Being able to get on my bike and ride has been a similar tonic, and it reaffirms my belief that bikes can save the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment