My neck is sore, my shoulders feel like I have been pulling a plough across a water – logged field (I have) and my legs feel like I cycled 33 miles yesterday (I did, finally.)
Cycling makes me feel good. I may favour exaggeration at times, but the opening sentence of this blog – ‘Cycling saved my life’. – was not.
My body aches all over today because yesterday I went for a ride in the countryside for the first time this year. O.K. the weather has been pretty severe for a long time, and even as an all – weather cyclist the wind and ceaseless rain have kept me from the countryside for a long time.
As reliable as always the winding lanes, the climbs, the downhill sweeps were all still there, as non – judgemental as ever. But it was a tentative ride, nonetheless. I’d planned a longer one – 50 miles near enough – but that felt too much; not distance – wise, so much as mentally. Like having too much to do, and not enough bad consequences to get the job(s) done.
As I have said before in previous editions I am a fan of physical activity (it really doesn’t have to involve padded shorts and a plastic hat) as a way of helping us get out of our brains, our minds, our heads and quieting – for a while – the terror, the guilt and the restless urge that summons the sweet swoon of eternity.
I am most certainly ‘in my body’ now. And it is nothing of the sort. The taut optic nerves behind my pupils as I try to focus, the mould prickling along my vertebrae when I sit or walk or lie, the inertia in the soles of my feet as I sit and sit and sit.
What they say I need most, I need least. What they say I need now, I need never.
What could be more ‘in the moment’ than the physical sensations of the moment? What is more actual than the aches? And all this is meant to make me feel better?
There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself-
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it,
and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.
A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.
This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags –
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pietas.
On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us:
They move in a hurry.
Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963)