I was reading the blog of Mad Munkey earlier (well, one of the blogs that this person has) and discovered that this particular blogger has a passion for cycling. In fact, Mad Munkey is about to join what I gather is a rather large competition--and I'm sending my best wishes.
I don't share Mad Munkey's passion for riding a bike, but it got me to thinking about my own bike-riding days when I was a kid. I learned to ride a bike when I was about seven years old, I think. None of those training wheels for me; my beloved older brother would plop me on his bike and hold onto that metal thing behind the seat to help balance the bike and keep me from falling flat on my face. I was always confident that I wouldn't fall because big brother was running behind me, holding the bike, keeping me safe.
Until one day.
There I was, sailing down a slope at the church grounds near our house. I remember the feeling of exhilaration caused by the speed at which I was going, without hardly any effort at all. I turned my head a bit to share my idiotic grin with my brother, and lo and behold, what did I see? The bastard was standing some distance behind, grinning an equally idiotic grin and actually waving at me! My mouth immediately transformed into an "O" of shock--just a tad bigger than my eyes that suddenly grew saucer-like in size at the implications. He wasn't holding onto me anymore! I was alone! I managed to sail on a few more meters before encountering the speed bump in front of our house--after which I crashed most spectacularly. This was during the days of no helmets, no knee pads, nothing. I'm a lucky bastard to be alive. The scars on my legs have faded to nothing, but the memory has not.
Staring at my brother unbelievingly as he grew smaller in my line of vision before disappearing altogether, me crashing, and then getting up with knees and elbows all bloody-- all these can somehow be seen as metaphors. Some of us have become complacent in the knowledge that someone is behind or beside us to save our sorry asses if we take a fall. Then suddenly we find that they aren't there anymore, that they're waving bye-bye and grinning idiotically while doing it.
Alone, we falter. Or we fall. We miss that guiding hand that's there one minute and gone the next.
It can be an unsettling experience, to say the least.