I am a writer who cycles. and a cyclist who writes. neither is separate from the other, and when I am cycling my mind fills with things to write about, from the world surrounding me to the bumpy road beneath my tires to the creatures (including motorists) who cross my path or pass my pedaling self. the world surrounding me is most evinced by temperature, skies filled with pre-dawn dark or sunshine or clouds, and the wind.
it’s rarely windless. some days wind whips past, sending fall leaves skipping along the ground or flying through the air. other days the wind is gentle, the tips of long grasses barely bending toward or away from my approaching body. moments of calm exist, but rarely do they extend further than a few minutes’ travel. typically, though, the wind is either up-canyon or down-canyon, and depending upon exposure and turns of the road, can at times be on one side of you or the other. and on wickedly windy days, it can jump and swirl, catching you by surprise, pressing against your chest, the side of your body, then your back, playing games and challenging you to keep your wheels straight and tall.
a book I recently read made generous use of the terms temporal and spatial, and in wrapping my mind around these concepts as he applied them I struggled. I was forced to look up definitions (spatial: relating to, occupying, or having the character of space; temporal: of or relating to time or earthly life as opposed to eternity ~ secular not sacred.) neither word exists in my usual spoken or written lexicon–though I certainly understand time and space–I added them to my mental list of “words of which to gain a firmer grasp.”
back to the bicycle.
please understand that when I’m cycling I am usually climbing or descending a canyon. while descending, I am hyper vigilant of hazards, while simultaneously on a landscape-fueled adrenaline high. thoughts flit through but rarely linger. while climbing uphill, much of the time I’m physically challenged enough that few brain cells are available for contemplation. thoughts come and go but my ability to direct them is limited. this pays off wonderfully in that the “inspiration silencer” is squelched by this lack of brain cells (and oxygen), allowing moments of brilliance to break surface. a few days back, during an uphill battle filled with unpredictable gusts of wind, displayed before my very eyes was a dramatic visualization of spatial and temporal.
the stretch of road I pedaled was momentarily calm: no leaves scattering before me, the roadside grasses tall and straight, a hush in my ears. but before me, not forty feet away, I watched a patch of swirling leaves and branches and grass bend fore and aft beneath the invisible onslaught. ah! spatial! my temporal zone was calm, but the exact same temporal moment, forty feet away, held a completely different spatial experience!
the wind gusts differed by spatial orientation, regardless of temporal designation!
yes, space and time are delightful words, both of which I will continue to select when discussing such concepts as–hmm–space and time.