(This is a ten minute free writing exercise…no editing, no going back to correct spelling, grammar, even typos…)
I remember days when I didn’t care about anything but the sky, the earth, the puddles, and my bike. I loved riding my bike down the street to the nursing home with its long, oval driveway and huge parking lot. The parking lot wasn’t very well paved and there were always a lot of puddles. Puddles four or five or six inches deep. Puddles that were deep enough that when I road very fast, the water would spray up off my tires in an arc. Puddles that had me peddling as hard as I could to go as fast as possible, right through the middle. Puddles that were a challenge and that forgave me and went right back to their original shape and depth so I could fly through again and again.
I remember some days when I couldn’t even wait for the rain to stop and I’d put on my red jacket, get on my purple bike with the banana seat, (or was it green?) and sneak out to ride in the rain. I remember the smell of the rain and the feel of the humidity in the air. I remember thunder. I remember old people watching me and shaking their heads. Or sometimes smiling. Or sometimes looking sad and confused. Or scared of thunder.
I remember wanting to share the joy of the ride, but also wanting to keep the puddles a private secret, all my own. I remember seeing a double rainbow, as bright as the one in the Wizard of Oz. I remember the way the rain would stream down my short bangs and into my eyes. I remember that everyone thought I was a boy. I remember the way the tires would slip on the water sometimes and I would slide and skid and sometimes fall.
I remember the big grassy meadow beside the nursing home and the way it smelled of wet grass. I remember the grasshoppers and the nightcrawlers. (shudder.) I remember the neighbors grapes and eating them green and so tart my eyes would water. I remember the garden and the smell of good black dirt, saturated with rain. I remember the lilac bushes that lined the fence and the three trees that came together to form a perfect hiding place. I remember the lily of the valley and the tall pine trees.
I remember the big storm that uprooted one of those trees–how scared I was, and fascinated that something so big could fall over in the storm. I remember waiting and waiting for the storm to come, and when it did, the thrill of it and the fear of it and the exhilaration of knowing that when it was over, there would be a certain color to the light and peace.