Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Secret Worlds

Colin Fletcher writes of secret worlds, the places just a tiny bit off the tracks trod by most men. These are the places that restore the soul and if you are lucky or wise, you find that these place are never far away. While there is great adventure to be found in thousand mile summers and breath-taking beauty in the far distant mountains, the small places are within hiking or biking distance.

It is only a few hours on a Christmas afternoon. Christine and the boys and I share many adventures but we also know that loving someone doesn't mean that every moment is a family moment. Some paths are trod alone, some secrets must be found in silence so they can become stories for a later telling. I grab my bike and roll into a dry winter day. My plan is vague and my tires rugged.

The gate is just off the known road. This is an unnamed bit of county land. I feel, rather than know, that this is some old farm, a bit of creekside deeded to the county. There are no buildings here, but bits of old gates and fence posts hint of a time when there were more men than a lone cyclist on a Christmas day. The water and the trees have their time and tiny tracks tell me that something passed here whose life is more fleeting than mine.

I wander, I wonder, I ponder and I poke around. I grow cold if I'm too still and wheels are ultimately made for rolling. Eventually, of course, strange paths rejoin known roads.

I could give a report with more detail, a GPS track to guide others to this gate and that rock. But exact coordinates give scant guidance to the secret worlds. These lands are better mapped by poets than cartographers.

I don't know what lies out your back door, but I know that I find something new each time I roll out mine with rugged tires and vague intentions.


Seth Vidal said...

If you take a look at the book "something wicked this way comes" by ray bradbury; I think you'll find a nice description of something like these secret places.

Kent Peterson said...

Thanks for the tip, Seth. Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors. As a matter of fact, one of the things Christine got me for Christmas is Ray's latest book "Farewell Summer", the sequel to "Dandelion Wine". And to spin this back to a cycling note, Bradbury is another car-free person.

nollij said...

I have to admit, some of my most favorite times have been bushwacking through the forests of Marin County (my home)... off the beaten trail and wandering free, looking for the secret places. Thanks for the reminder to go look for these places: it's been ages since I've done it, and it's about time! They are everywhere, you just have to look.

Anonymous said...

Ah... the beauty of a bike that is happy on many different surfaces. For the life of me I don't know why more folks don't do these more, this is my favorite sort of ride. I love going somewhere I've never been and if I can do it from my front door it's even better.

Gary B.

Doug said...

Kent, very nice post. I am a big fan of Colin Fletcher's writings. He has inspired me in many ways. Big tires are a great way to allow yourself to wander and discover those secret worlds.

Tex69 said...

Talking poetry Kent, that was one of the better blog entries that I've read. You captured the moment perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! If you're not already a member of the www.bikeforums.net community, please stop by and have a look. It's free, and there are plenty of members that share your enthusiasm.