In one single solitary sentence I was transported. It was the strangest collision of word and time and space all fused into one. The same exact spot, the same exact instructions- uttered by my mother-heard by me...just 35 years later. "Put your foot on the step and push off Becca!" Is what echoed in my ears- "Put your foot on the step and push off Ezra!" Is what they heard now. My strange time tunnel pulled me back to the present as I watched my 5 year old do the exact same thing I had done so many years ago, with the same coach- with the same results...
Different bike. (I had a glorious 1970's artfully faded forest green to lime yellow sparkly banana seat beauty.) Different cars are parked in the driveways. Some different neighbors, some the same. The trees are all taller, the houses different colors, but everything else could be plucked right from my first real ride down this street.
And away we went. Away my little boy pedaled. Away went the image and the lesson for me and now here, it somehow morphed into some time-space-continuum that I'm sure is destined to be repeated. Does Ezra know the power he now possesses?
You know what I'm talking about. The freedom that comes from a two-wheeler. The ability to ride- and to go anywhere- not because you had to, but because you could. To ride down the biggest hill in the woods because you were dared -crashing near the bottom, but earning the respect of all of the "big kids" you were out to impress. Delivering birthday party invitations by bike to all of your friends. Splashing through puddles, kicking up just enough mud and water to prove that you did it, but not enough to get you in trouble. Foraging your own way to the little downtown Ben Franklin to reap the sweet rewards of a sour apple Jolly Rancher stick- bought with your own pocket change. Cruising to the neighborhood pool, towel draped over your shoulders, sweating just enough to really look forward to that first leap into the cool water. Balancing a Coke in one hand before you became a member of the I-can-ride-a-bike-with-no-hands-club. Riding at night, the breeze being the only friend that could keep up with you. Riding in the rain, the droplets making your skin prickle alive and shiver even though it wasn't really cold. Riding in the sun, squinting through sweat-reveling in the glorious heat from the rays all around you. Riding through piles of leaves, unceremoniously displacing them from their home hugging the curb. Pedaling faster than you ever thought possible-down a hill, to a friends... to that boys house. Racing yourself, racing each other, racing away, racing time, racing home.
Again, does he know any of this yet, my little boy- the power he now possesses?
Not yet. But he will. With one push off of the curb at a time, that power and freedom is waiting to ride away with him.