Amy says . . .
I want to tell you about the frantic last-minute packing up of all the stuff we had sprawled all over Grace’s house and how Stefanie figured out how to fit every last piece of it in the car so perfectly.
I want to tell you about our new friend, Valerie, stopping by with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our bicycle and fresh tears and warm hugs.
I want to tell you about the traffic coming out of Boulder and how nervous I was being on the tandem because the reality set in, This is it.
I want to tell you about the pink cape I wore and how funny it was to see it out of the corner of my eye flying in the wind making me feel a tiny bit invincible.
I want to tell you about the Flatirons rising in the hazy distance to our left.
I want to tell you about the prairie dogs and how hard we laughed when we saw them all playing in the dust on the side of the road.
I want to tell you about the tallest thistles I’ve ever seen, the ones with an otherwordly purple flower and the dandelions with seed heads as big as softballs.
I want to tell you about the three military helicopters that crawled overhead and looked like ominous futuristic birds.
I want to tell you about the white-tail hawk that flew ahead of us leading us into Loveland.
I want to tell you how terrifying the downhills were. How my heart leapt into my throat so I could taste the coppery taste of my own blood. I want to tell you how strange it is to be flying at that speed and not be able to see anything in front of you, not have my hands on the handlebars or any control over the breaks so that the only thing I could do was lean in and trust trust trust. I want to tell you how exhilerating that kind of letting go is and how incredible it feels to land at the bottom of the hill safe and sound, ready to begin pedaling again.
The inevitably of departure, and how despite the zooiness of bags and boxes and tire tubes and paper and checklists and toiletries and sunscreen application and goodbyes, at some point it is time to get going, and you do.
The turn onto 119, how remarkbably fast we got out of Boulder and then the startling flatness of the road, and the shoulder that widened and narrowed at odd intervals, and the relief of little traffic and cool temperatures, and the families of prairie dogs to our right and elevation to our left. How already I had begun to think of Nebraska.
Longmont, Colorado and the first 9 miles under our belt. Roadside stops for swigs of water. A pee break near Country Road 4. Bites of bagel and banana. The next miles, the steady pedaling, conversations on our headsets. The first ache in my legs. The sign for Loveland city limits. Holding up thank yous. Amy's pink cape. Our flashing red light. Just five more miles.
Finding Stef in the parking lot. Maude like a beacon. Pedaling back to meet Marcia and Beth. The happy busyness in the library. A circus school holding camp outside. Lunch at Next Door. Angus burgers and deconstructed poppers. A pint of perfectly cold local beer. The World Cup. Taproom wisdom. Grace arriving. The amble around Benson Sculpture Park. Green everywhere. Grass I wanted to nap on. Catherine and her apron and her dress and her smile.
Robert, preparing the sound system for the evening's event. The way he played the guitar with such tenderness. Another bottle of water. Tiredness slipping in. Beth arriving with signage I wanted to steal. Lime popsicles. The pavillion filling. Generous introductions. How giddy I felt. The first poems. Nonstop typing. Seeing Sadie in a Type Rider t-shirt. Tiny traveling library books, devoured by new readers. A hand-painted book box holding court. Jerry checking in. More poems. More poems.
Dusk, and the drive to Beth's house. Tortellini with pesto and grilled chicken, salad, the tumble of blueberries and strawberries. More water. The ache for sleep. A hot shower. My heart, spilling with the day, the kind of disbelief and magic you can't help believing.