Tuesday, June 10, 2014
It sat there in the back, behind the mower and broken compressor -- dusty, faded, tire sidewalls threadbare and split. It looked abandoned, if not downright abused. The years had not been kind to my old bike, the pink and green Stump Jumper that I left in Wisconsin so that I could have a bike when I got a chance to visit.
With the help of brother Gus, we extracted the dusty steed from years of loneliness. I thought I heard a whimper of gratitude as its tires touched the earth and rolled, flat and dry-rotted.
I had to apologize. I asked for forgiveness, undeserved though it might be.
Good bikes like the Stumpy will always forgive. Their loyalty is unconditional.
Now, though, I had to earn some of that forgiveness.
I bought a tire, new tube, and began the long process of dusting the outrageous paint scheme with a chamois. I took a breath, focused my attention, and took care to connect and give some thanks for this opportunity to patch things up.
Some soap, wax, elbow grease and TLC went a long way to transform the dusty mess into a gleaming classic.
True, it has gotten old, like I have. The paint has lost some of its sheen, its audacity. And there are chips, dents, and plenty of imperfections. It has been beat-up some by life. That makes it more loveable, more needing of love.
Stumpy, you are long in the tooth.
That's OK. Nothing is perfect.
Stumpy has character. Stumpy has heart. Stumpy is a rolling role model.
After some adjustments and amends, we found some of the old magic. I massaged the sow's ear until some of the silk purse began to emerge. The healing that is possible after years of estrangement pulsed through my veins. It felt like coming home. Sweet, aching, opening, release.
Thank you Stumpy for your willingness to share together these few days we have to live on this green, wet, wonderful world.
You are an example for me, a teacher.
I wish I could be so good.