Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Chasing the Sunset

It was somewhere (or sometime?) in the vicinity of 7:30 as I arrived home today and walked up the steps of my front porch. Before putting my key into the front door, I happened to glance up behind my left shoulder, and wow! The sky was full of sunset: ruffled strips of white clouds arranged against the baby blue like layers of ruffles on a little girl's party dress, tinged pink by the streaming hot rays of the setting sun. It had all the colors of a nursery, and I could imagine the air up there smelling like baby powder. Very different from the intensity of a powerful purple and orange sunset...sweet instead of striking.

I had been planning to eat dinner upon home arrival; but before I had finished turning my key in the lock, I knew what I had to do. Sprinting up the stairs, I dropped my stuff in the dining room and ran through the kitchen, stopping just long enough to blurt to Allison (now my roommate of two years, friend and classmate for three) and Heather (our new fourth roommate) "sunset beautiful, going to change, biking up to see it" before sprinting up the second set of stairs to my room. Within seconds, I was out the door and on my bike pumping the pedals towards East Rock.

Within minutes, my lungs were burning. With all due respect to Billy Blanks, my new infatuation with his Bootcamp videos did nothing to prepare me for the pain I was about to experience (sidenote on Ultimate Bootcamp: the first night I tried preparing for Ob night float by staying up all night, I got suckered into the first infomercial I saw when I turned on the TV at 4am--I promise it's the only time I've *ever* bought something off an infomercial; and until today, I thought Billy was the man. As he says, "who I am today is where my mind put me, and who I'll be tomorrow is where my mind put me"--ok, so he don't speak so good grammatically, but I like how he thinks).

Back to the ride up East Rock--the cover of trees and the shadow cast by the rock itself seemed to suck all the light off the eastern path I was using to wind my way up to the top. I huffed, I puffed, I shifted gears several times; I almost turned back, but the slivers of pink I could occasionally glimpse through the trees when I rounded the western corners kept me going, evidence that my trip might not be entirely futile.

At last, I broke through the treelined path onto the road and gave one final push towards the edge overlooking the city. Did I make it? Suddenly, after the sound and fury of my race against time, time stopped. Sound stopped, except for the muffled thump of my heart (which, thankfully, did *not* stop). All that remained of my brilliant pink sunset was a quiet blanket of washed out blues and grays spread over the hills west of New Haven. Gazing over the individually discernible houselights of a small coastal city at dusk nestled between those hills and the washed out gray of the Long Island Sound, I felt content and peaceful...the first time in a long while.

I rode slowly up the rest of the way to the tip top lookout, where Allison and Heather were waiting. They were impressed at how quickly I made it to the top. I was impressed at how much my lungs still felt like lobsters being boiled alive for dinner. One more ragged deep breath of the now moonlit dusk, then I hopped back onto my bike for the second race of the evening, this time against the impending darkness. Coasting down the road, I could barely make out the edge of the shoulder, let alone any potholes or more serious obstacles. For a moment, I wondered if maybe I haven't been eating enough carrots and had developed a slight vitamin A deficiency night blindness. But no, it was just plain getting pitch dark. I felt a surge of adrenaline-laced fear as I realized that I could at any moment hit a rock and go careening over my handlebars...luckily, I didn't. Just as the edges of the shadows began to disappear entirely, help miraculously arrived in the form of Allison's silver PT Cruiser to illuminate my path all the way back home. We all arrived back at the house safely, at which point hunger kicked in. So I made teriyaki tofu and steamed baby spinach for dinner. Yum.

Conclusion: I really like tapping into the part of me that is a spontaneous person willing to take some risks and make adventures out of everyday events. Life's more interesting that way, and far more fun. And, I definitely feel better now (referring to my previous post); hopefully it will last at least til tomorrow's sunset. The End.


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