Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"If You Want to Steer a Bike, It Has to Be Moving!"

It seemed so far down to the hard, gravelly ground as I sat there. My heart was pounding and I could feel the small droplets of sweat as they trickled down my back on the warm spring day. This wasn’t the first time I’d been here…in truth, I’d been in this same place most of the morning. But the result always seemed to be the same. As soon as I would try to lift myself up on the pedals, I would fall over. Some of the times, I would catch myself with a foot and keep the bike in an upright position. But all too often, I found myself sprawled on the ground…small bits of gravel imbedded into my raw, bruised hands. Tears would begin to build, but I would quickly wipe the sleeve my old red, hooded sweatshirt across my face to remove any tell-tale signs of the pain I was feeling or the anger that was building in me.

We didn’t have training wheels for our bikes…those were for “wus’s” and “pansies”. We just had to figure out how to make it work. Of course for my little brother Jeff (the family dare-devil), it seemed so easy. After only a few tries, he was off and riding…like a young Indian scout on his first pony. But he had something that I didn’t have…or maybe it would be better said that “I had something that he didn’t”. I was afraid of falling and he wasn’t. He just pushed the bike so it started to move and jumped on and away he went.

Eventually, I learned to ride my bike and spent countless hours and miles on it riding with Jeff. Eventually, I learned the lesson of what you need to do to actually “ride” the bike…to get it to go where you wanted it to instead of ending up on the ground with torn knees in your jeans and raw, bleeding hands. Eventually, I learned at if you want to steer a bike, it has to be moving!

I’m in the process of riding a new kind of bike these days. ..I’m starting my book. And I’m discovering that the lesson learned when I was a little boy on a hard, gravel driveway in North Idaho is still true today. I can’t know where the book is going until I start moving…until I dig into it and start to put the pieces together.

The stories are difficult to read at times…the memories they bring back still too fresh, still too painful. But I know that I need to keep moving, to keep reading…to keep processing. And like that young boy in the tattered old red sweatshirt, success will come. It will all fall into place. The wobbly handlebars will straighten out, the legs will keep moving and the momentum of the story will take over.

In truth, it is already beginning to take shape. The stories are starting to fit together…something that makes sense is beginning to unfold. I can see that there really IS something powerful here to be told. And as I continue to move forward, the pain will diminish, the falls will become less frequent and the story will steer itself as I continue to let it move forward.

Photo from Flickr


Deb Shucka said...

What a perfect analogy! I love this. I can see that old red sweatshirt and the gravel in your hands. I wanted to see the bike, too. I'm assuming by the time you started riding the old blue dinosaur was long gone.

So glad you're beginning to see the road unfold before you, starting to feel the wind on your face. So proud of you.

I love you.

M said...

Yes. Actually, I don't remember what the bike looked like that I learned to ride on. Only the falls. Isn't life like that sometimes.