Bikeride Warning

Dream – Bikeride Warning

      It is Sunday, the 26th of January, 2020, about 8:20 AM. The aura, and a few details, of a vivid dream persist after I awoke a few minutes ago with my dear wife Frances beside me in our little house in San Juan Bautista. I need to tell this backward, so I don’t get mired in the vague beginning and forget the slightly clearer ending.
      I had stopped my mountain bike and put my left foot down for a moment as I spoke with a guy who had stopped his car, in no hurry, with the window rolled down. We are looking back up the road toward the foothills we both had come down from, only a few minutes before, over the little bridge and out onto this flat area, all unfamiliar to me. I told him that something strange was going on, really beautiful – and catastrophic. I recounted how, only a few moments before, I’d passed a young deer, a yearling, on the road, and asked if he’d seen it. He had. I had gone past it very slowly, so as not to startle it. The deer and I had exchanged a glance, then it just tilted its nose up and turned its gaze back toward the hills.
      A minute prior to that, I’d been riding down the road toward the bridge, thinking how clear the air seemed, even at a distance. This was surprising, as clear vision through my trifocal glasses is routine. But this was something different. Not just the way the sun was approaching the horizon, shining its light UNDER the fiery clouds. This was something too subtle to name, yet as specific as the sparkle of a tooth in an old cartoon or a drinking glass in an ad for dishwashing detergent.
      As I approached the bridge a coyote walked onto it in the other lane, from the downhill side, and just stood there. It didn’t bother to look at me directly; it seemed there was something else on its mind, not danger or survival, but something deeper. It was looking, almost with expectation, up the road down which I had come. I was simply incidental and moving slowly enough to be ignorable.
      But a few minutes before, farther up the grade where it was steeper, I had passed, at a higher speed, a big hefty buck with many-pointed antlers. It was taller than I was on the bike, and he seemed very sure of himself. He was coming out of the brush on the far side of the road walking toward me with a sense of purpose in the other lane. That’s when I first thought that something strange was going on. Where was his fear of me? Where was my sense of superiority as a more highly evolved creature, or at least more technically powerful? Why did I feel a deep kinship with this beautiful ambassador from another species? For maybe an hour I had been riding swiftly down, or up with hill-climbing sprockets, in the semi-arid hills and the cottonwood gulches of this area that reminded me of Idaho. Then suddenly the focus had shifted into a mystery of anticipation.
      While talking with the guy out on the flats, a hundred thoughts were vying for my attention. The Second Coming, but not specifically of Jesus as a king of people; rather as the return of profound change in life on planet earth after a couple million years of relative tranquility, which allowed humans the luxury of time on their hands to develop theories of the cosmos and weapons with which to handle our prey and our conjured-up enemies. The thought even flit past me that jokes about “earthquake weather” could be a subset of jokes about anticipating calamity in general, like another Chicxulub asteroid that leveled the playing field by eliminating the top predator dinosaurs, giving opportunity to the little survivors from whom we evolved.
      Or even like the currently creeping, warming, destroyer: Climate Change.

      But I didn’t say any of that. I didn’t even say goodbye to the fellow in his car. I just woke up to a new day with the rare gift of a dream to recount.

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