Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Surfing clouds home from work

Cycling through a rolling corkscrew vortex below the vaporous swell of cloud. Waves in the air rolling not yet breaking. 

Riding home from Parap on Monday night. 7:00pm The sky was darker than usual, no sunlight poking through just a dim glow reflecting off the rolling head of another trough. A few drops of rain touch my skin and I wonder how far I'll get before the rain bursts free from the sky.
After a couple of minutes chatting with friends the time has come to ride. The early evening and morning are my favorite times to ride.

I was keen to start peddling but an old fella was gesturing me to the auto teller. I wanted to ignore him but without my glasses I stared too long to see what he was doing and he knew he had me! This happens a fair bit in Darwin. He's got his card and knows his pin but he can't operate the machine, he just needs someone to access his account and withdraw his money for him. It's a weird situation to have a stranger give you their bank card and pin number anywhere else it probably would never happen but in Darwin life is a bit different. I kind of doubted he knew the pin but sure enough I entered the number he told me and we were in.
"How much do you want to withdraw?"
"One Hundred Dollah"
I try one hundred and surprize surprize the machine refuses to pay. Not enough funds. OK, I thinks, No money, great now I can go home!
"You've got no money, sorry, it didn't work."
I waited to be dismissed but no, we're going to try again. Damn it! It's going to rain and I'm stuck at the auto teller with some old bloke who could probably do without another $100 of drinking money but he wasn't ready to let me go just yet.

"OK try forty!"
"There is no forty. Only twenty or fifty..."
"OK fifty!"

I try fifty and miraculously the money comes out. I leave it for him to grab from the machine, thankfully he had no trouble doing that, not that I would be tempted to take his money, even though I've rarely got more than a dollar to spend. It just seems weird and I want to get on my bike! The old fella says thanks, he's genuinely grateful, now I feel like an asshole for not wanting to help him. Argh get over it!

Back to the ride. Off we go. The sky is dark but I can see the clouds moving quickly with the wind licking at it's heels as the front rolls across the inky black sky. I roll down the familiar back streets and onto Bagot Rd. I love this time of night! It's the fruit bat hour, cooler, the sun is not frying my skin or broiling my brains the air is heavy and soft. I can feel the weight of the clouds above me and wonder when they will burst and bombard me with rain. I naturally start to peddle faster, It's amazing how much energy I have for cycling when it's cloudy or dark.
The sky is growing darker and darker up ahead... I'm sure I'll get wet but I don't care, the atmosphere is electric... (Only a few flashes of lightning fortunately!) I start to peddle faster. The air pressure drops considerably as I get closer to the storm I feel an incredible sense of lightness. The fruit bat hour is the time of night when 100s of fruit bats fill the sky headed for their evening roosts, It's quite surreal to see... The sensation is magical!
As I ride I am engulfed by the darkness of the storm cloud, I can feel drops of rain falling and wonder if I'll make it home without being drenched. I peddle faster and the bike just glides along. It's like there's no resistance! I am being sucked through a vortex! Moving faster and faster the street is quite empty, all peripheral sights and images disappear into a blur I feel an intoxicating euphoria. I am high! Now I feel like a surfer riding a 5 mile long tube of the perfect wave! The sky is getting darker, I glide the path, drops of rain gather on my skin but only enough to urge me on faster! As I head down Mc Millans road the wind of a storm front bowls it's way through the trees, the temperature drops dramatically but no rain. I am flying! Rolling up hill now I feel like I'm exerting no energy at all! I am in a state of bliss!
The bike trembles slightly as I cross Lee Point Rd, finally I begin to slow down as I approach home. Now I'm just cruising the final leg, my bike and this strange wave just pulls me home. I open the gate and dismount, roll the bike into its stable and enter the house... Home.
Oh give me my bike on any night like this.

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