Last night I got home at about 9:30 and decided to take a quick ride around the lake. It was dusky, but there was still light on the horizon, and the heat index was finally manageable, meaning it was the best time to ride--so tranquil and beautiful, with hardly any air traffic noise. And since it was a low-key ride, I was just wearing my dress and flip-flops, and I still had all my jewelry on, including the bangles that entranced the 2 1/2 year old I'd just met at dinner. At the lake, three little girls sat on a bench near the shore, their little legs dangling, perfectly silhouetted against the smoky fading sunset and the downtown skyline. I pedaled slowly, liking the infrequent spooky headlights on other people's bikes and the bats overhead. The little clouds of bugs were less impressive, but it's summertime by the lake; what do you want? The bats have to eat.
There's a wetland on one side of the lake, all cattails and reeds and native plants, and as I rounded the curve to that side all the street noise went away and I heard frogs and red winged blackbirds calling. Weird pockets of cool, damp air blasted up from the shore. No one else was around, and the lightning bugs started flaring up out over the wetland. I hadn't seen any yet this summer, and it felt like a private show. I slowed to a crawl and just watched, one tenth of a mile away from a busy street that turns into a highway, and felt like I was alone in the middle of the countryside, which is an awesome feeling if you're in the right mood, and I was.
But of course someone else rode along, and I continued down the path, and the street noise came back, like someone had turned up the volume suddenly. The spell has to break sometime, but at least you're left suffused with well-being.
Now I'm going to recommend two movies you've probably already seen: Away from Her and I've Loved You So Long. I wanted to talk about them with someone, but naturally I watched them alone and at odd times of the day. I think we've had Away From Her out from Netflix before and never managed to watch it, but Sarah Polley sort of fascinates me and the performances in the movie are stellar. The same is true of I've Loved You So Long. And both movies have such a strong sense of place, and such a unique look because of how they're situated in their landscapes. Also, they both made me cry. The Brit has been mostly out of town for the last 10 days, so I also watched 13 Going on 30 for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed myself, primarily because of the Thriller dance scene. I don't know why I love group dance scenes/public unison dancing so much, but I have decided that I need to be part of a flash mob at some point in my life. I don't even care if it's for some cynical purpose like advertising cell phones. I want to be in a big group dance that coalesces in a public place and then dissipates like nothing ever happened, leaving a big old upsurge of fellow-feeling in its wake. If you're the organizing type, please organize this and I will get on board.
Finally, there are all kinds of other balance things I cannot do yet in yoga class, but I can headstand, which is the sole legacy of the gymnastics class I took at age 5. Have I mentioned that I argue with myself almost every week about whether or not I'm going to go to my yoga class? It is the dumbest thing ever, because yoga makes more time than it takes, if you want to get all Oprah about it. I always go, but I have to do this mental dance first. I've pretty much stopped doing that with biking to work, so maybe this will pass and then I'll magically get better at standing on one leg.