If you could change forms and become the wind, what would you do? I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind is the playful element of the wind. Oh sure as those of us who doing road biking know, the wind certainly has its harsh and painful attributes, but we’ll eschew those during this missive. Why? Because few of us would choose to manifest as this part of the wind’s personality. That’s why. So, let’s go back to that playful part and have a little fun.
Now, close your eyes. You are the wind. You’re free. You can do anything and go anywhere. So, what do you choose to explore?
Perhaps, you might imagine yourself in the woods. The earth rises and falls. Trees, bushes and plants are scattered here and there. The sun peeks through the canopy and twinkles in your eyes. You could rise up and play with the leaves in the trees. You could swoop down and stir up the dirt. Your windy fingers grasp some and throw it up in to the air. It dances as it falls back to Earth.
As with the real wind, you could stay still. Your breaths are quiet and only cause the leaves to lightly flutter. Yet, take off rushing down that hill, and they vibrate wildly as you pass. You’re tingling as you go, and the downward rush works up such excitement that you fly up the next hill. As you come to the top, it’s as if you’re in slow motion. You can choose to lighten up and go even further aloft. How high do you want to go? You’re the wind. It’s your choice.
Maybe you want to stay close and hug the soil. Maybe you want to grip tightly, down low. Here comes a high brimmed curve! Still in movement, you pull in close; find your proper center and lean. Those tight ones make you squeal in laughter. You turn up small stones into the air. They jingle as they clash against one another. Oh, the music you create just by being you.
Here are some jumps! You wash over them like water over the falls, and your “laughter” rings through the woods as you go.
Now, you come to a spot with plenty of rocks and roots. You’re wind, though, remember? Do you want to dip down and rumble yourself on each one of those? No. You want to sail through them smoothly. Yet, even the wind has to work at times. So, you look for that balance. Do you lift up? Do you come further forward? Do you go further back? What does the terrain tell you to do? Find that path. Release and go.
A doe raises its head hearing you approach. That rustling motion gets it curious. It wonders, “What is that?” Just more wind. Nothing to fear. It lowers its head and returns to nibbling on a sweet plant it found. The tiny fawn hears the wind and holds still, as it should, when safely hidden amongst the leaves and brush while its mother forages for food, nearby.
A squirrel goes spastic when it hears you approach. Such easily spooked creatures make so much noise as they nervously scatter on the forest floor, most times more than you do! Sometimes, you add a bit more swoosh to your sounds to make certain these little ones don’t endanger themselves by getting in your way.
A small flock of turkeys lean their heads sideways trying to determine what yonder element approaches. These curious birds can either be tremendously confident and brazen or wildly unpredictable. Will it simply stand its ground, daring you to get too close, or will it run and cluck, annoyed at being disturbed? Shhh. Worry not. It doesn’t matter. You are a part of the woods as anything else is. You keep blowing onward.
You’re the wind, alright. You can whisper, squeal, howl or scream through those woods.
You…can be you.
You…can be free.
Well…almost. It’s as close to being the wind as you’ll ever get. If you’ve wondered why I’ve commented here and there about falling in love with riding dirt, I think I’ve given you enough imagery to at least make you wonder.
Although, I could describe these feelings and these experiences all I want, but until one actually goes mountain biking, the true essence stays just beyond your grasp. Sure, those early rides can be scary and hard. It’s nothing like being the wind. After a while though, you find a groove. Your bike becomes more like an extension of your body. So the more at one with your bike you are, the more like the wind you become.
Am I great at being the wind? I’ll put it this way. For me, I’m good enough to get that feeling. I’ve noticed that the more confident I get and the more skills I master, the more like the wind I feel.
What can I tell ya? Fun only begins to describe mountain biking. There are rides that when I get done, I feel like my soul is singing. Oh, how I want to share that with others! Yet, you just have to go experience it for yourself to see what I mean.