In Yosemite that I love thinking about. Becky was tired and resting, Liz was getting work done and I decided to borrow her bike and explore the Valley alone. I was wearing my hiking boots, jeans, a black tank top, my grey cardigan, and a red hoodie.
There was a cold front that week for a couple of days.
I took my iPod and decided to listen to a band I didn't know well yet. "Why?"
Liz warned me once that week that there are sandy parts of the trails that are hard to get your bike over. I remember speeding up as fast as I could on that cruiser with low air pressure in its tires. Speeding ahead and lifting my feet from the petals, letting the bike slide through the fine granite sand.
I was listening to "Good Friday" when I stopped to take in this one view. Later that week Liz and I went walking through the field I had rested the bike on the edge of that day. We talked and cried and wished I wasn't leaving.
I kept riding, losing my breath, wishing I could ride for hours but knowing I'd need to turn around soon enough.
As I rode up to this one tree I love so terribly much, I was listening to "Song of the Sad Assassin." I think of that moment every time I hear that song.
The tree's home is on the edge of the river, its roots are huge and strong and come through the surface of the earth. I set down the bike and walked along the roots for a while. I looked at the water and took off my clothes. Just left my underwear and tank top. I didn't wear a bra the whole time I was there. I told myself I wouldn't anymore after I got back but a couple weeks after my return I caved into the societal pressure.
The water was only a couple feet deep. It was freezing. It was perfectly clear. I can't describe how that water looks, feels, tastes, smells, or makes you feel. Its magnificent.
I swam back and forth for a while. My body got used to the dreadful temperature. Its surprising how quickly your body adapts to extreme environments. Our bodies are amazing.
I floated on my back and stared at the sky. I wished I could see the perfect view of Higher Cathedral and the sky at once laying on my back. What to stare at? Such a hard decision.
I climbed out and used my cardigan to dry off. I looked around and slipped out of my underwear and into my jeans. My feet were wet and had dirt and sand on them so my legs felt gritty inside my pants. Shoes and socks. Shaking at this point. Teeth chattering inside my huge, inexcusably ecstatic smile. I felt so alive, alone and alive.
I rode back and felt like I was reentering something I'd recently left behind.
Alone and alive.