Riding home from class again
Riding my borrowed bicycle home tonight was nice. Since the October time change it gets dark early, and the coolness of day spreads unflinchingly into cold night. This was one of those nights of undeniable mist, which was already seeping from the fields as soon as the sun stopped fighting, and by my homeward ride at nine thirty it was thick and lovable.
It lurked in that unique irresistible stillness of heavy mist. The occasional car shwooshing past was oblivious and didn’t belong, like litter fallen out of passing spaceships cruising through our solar system on their way to someplace less beautiful.
The season has turned, and acorns no longer pop beneath my tires. The only sound is the steady whine of the bike-light, which true to its Belgian heritage is slightly different and/or more advanced than what I am used to. It has no battery, instead powered by the small wheel which presses against the rim of the front tire and turns as I ride.
The light stops as soon as I do, and walking it into the garage set behind our building is not enough motion to really get going, so I always look to see the ghouls hiding in the back among the forgotten rubbish of forgotten tenants, expecting them to skitter away from the wetly dismembered corpses they feed on, but they are staunch and hold mostly motionless among the moist cardboard, dried paint cans and rusting bicycles.
But while I ride the light shines proudly, warning drivers of my presence. Belgian drivers have impressed me over and over with their awareness of and respect for cyclists.
I pass repeating scenes of square brick houses resolutely bare of adornments, and open fields where soil fraternizes familiarly with pools of rainwater in the furrows, at night the puddles a quietly confident navy blue that would be mistaken for black if it weren’t for the dirt proving the point.
The corn is all harvested down to stubble stalks now. But only a week or so ago I passed a beautiful nightmare as a looming threshing machine annihilated a field of dry corn stalks. It was mechanical thunder in the air, menacing power filtering in fleeing shadows between fear-rooted corn stalks as flood lights stripped away all resistance. If a human walked into the front of that thing it would briefly make a slightly different noise and there would be a splash in an unexpected direction and the driver would probably not notice.