29 October 2009

Mount Ventoux

The years pass by, four seasons each, and much of the time we might as well be fearing tigers jumping out of the shadows.
In a vague way, I have imagined that I would never get myself more sophisticated than to have a deep and dreamy appreciation of the astrolabe, the sextant, the binnacle, the octant; but at the age of 31 I bought a bicycle (Raleigh, North Carolina) and for three years it was the total expression for me, of transportation. Urban bike courier without a message. (Plato.)
Later, 600km rides became a frequent means of being, during which elevated levels of opiates within the bloodrush provided the structure by which I could evade every tiger's slashing teeth and horrible gutturals.
Petrarch climbed Mount Ventoux in 1336, and much has been made of this by humanists, Morris Bishop (who one day crossed paths with Richard Farina, Vladimir Nabokov, Noni Korf, Barbie Hodes, and me), various philosophers of the modern, and many inchoate or primitive existentialists. The poet climbing doubtless considered the ways of the soul and the ways of the world, yet may also have sweated and strained, and breathed shallow breaths near where Tom Simpson, in 1967, encountered the mystifying and dense "otherness" that some of us experience during sudden cardiac arrest (unfinished). Petrarch's opiates made a grand dance of coordinates with reference to stars and sun, transformation, and gravity, on Ventoux.
Sometimes the heart
beats to the rhythm
of the derailleur.

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