Meditation

A long climb at the end of a long day. You knew it was coming, thought about stopping just before it and tackling it fresh in the morning but there are more hours of daylight so you accept the slopes. You left at maybe nine, it’s eight forty five. A half hour for lunch, a few chats, 20 minutes sitting in the early evening just to listen to the sounds. If it was a race or an event with a name that you registered or saved up for, then you would have paid attention to your eating and drinking, but this is a bike tour, you let your jaw drop and your eyes rise at the scenery, you smiled and waved at gauchos, you rode hard when you felt like it, dallied in arcing lazy tracks such that riders behind will shake their heads at the wobbly inefficiency of it, not realizing that their own paths are similarly precariously sinuous.

After a steep loose wet switchback you stop, you’re trembling but it’s not cold, in fact you’re sweating arms slick. But it’s colder than you think, your piss is steaming. And your breath. You’re in no danger of falling down really but you’re unsteady on your feet straddling the bike, your legs, not now turning, ache and are slow, unwilling to tense. You’re curious about the phenomenology of it, present in your attention but that’s what’s compromised so you wonder about observation but wondering is effortful and ceases. Your sense of your body as having a location is a bit behind, spatially further back from where it normally is. Perhaps it is temporally, too, like a drag on reality but you’d need an independent fixed anchor to discern that, and there isn’t one in your consciousness, could there be? (cf., Refutation of Idealism).

Your vision isn’t tunneled but it’s on its way, a certain dullness to it, not the colors or shapes but dullness or heaviness of the capacity of seeing itself, you can tell when you dart your eyes, a certain pitching reluctance of perception. You eat a little so as not to full on bonk but not enough to recover, here a chance to have it break, for consciousness to disintegrate and reveal something, these are conditions for it, it’s happened before in similar circumstances but it was dangerous then, you have to be a little careful when leaving.

Pedaling again, you climb for another half hour and over the pass, think about putting on a jacket but want to dry out your shirt or that’s the explanation you later give for it, at the time you just didn’t pause, so just put aside the sharp cold. You should stop to camp, but don’t. You should have stopped an hour ago but didn’t. The downhill is easy, sliding turns gnawing through the washboard, mild inputs to the levers someone’s fingers are cold you somehow realize but you don’t care because the person with fingers doesn’t. You reach a crossroad, turn you know where you are going but the going is now taking you, it’s night but here and at this time of year it will take a long time to not be able to see.

The road is up and down and you’re adrift on the swells for hours, there is no song or words or even edges or objects in your head, maybe just a light ringing that sounds like silver or a needle prick. There are shadows and dream of running rivers, everything everything is made of indirectly reflected light illuminating as if unhappily and from a great distance but you’re neither happy nor sad nor anything. Later you feel without comment that it might be a good idea to stop it must be well after some moment when you should have stopped but there is a flooding moon that speaks in her lifting laugh that fills up the landscape and thus you from edge to edge including the edges and the road and you’ll remember it as a warm beautiful night in a landscape with silhouetted trees and the ghostly afterimage of crags, but that will be mostly reconstruction when you’re fed and rested.

Pedals get turned then not. A tent gets set up, the zippers are closed, darkness, sleep.

This is what must have happened. I will remember it as one of the best days I’ve had on a bicycle.

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