And this week, I climbed on a bicycle and rode it around Greenlake. Around and around in the rain, grinning all the way.
I honestly can’t remember how long it has been since I was on a bicycle, pedalling without thinking, balancing in that delicate, solid way that only bike tires slapping the ground can be. I’m pretty sure that I had not been on a bike since before I lived in New York, which is over eight years ago. What? How is that possible? I didn’t ride in New York, because my body felt best on the blades. And Seattle is full of hills, so I didn’t buy a bike here. And then the three years of feeling low and out of myself. I just couldn’t stand it anymore. My body is bursting with energy these days. I just have to move. (Unfortunately, this isn’t doing anything to reduce the mound of grading I have to finish before nest week.) So I rode around in the rain.
Later, in the evening, Monica came over for dinner. One of my favorite former students–hell, one of my favorite people in the world–she has been living in New York for the past few months, soaking up the city, walking Central Park, gawking at people, and becoming different in the process. And just after I had been diagnosed with celiac, and feeling much better already, she called me and said, “So what did you feel like when you were my age?” I told her about my creaky joints, the low energy, the way I held weight even though I exercised all the time, the problems with depression. “That sounds like me,” she said. And since her mom has celiac too, she decided to cut out gluten. Well, she clearly has this too, because I’ve never seen her look so good. Her eyes are clear, her body fully alive, and she exudes happiness from all her pores. She’s dedicated to eating gluten free for the rest of her life, and it’s easy to see why. I’ve always loved her, but there was a darkness, a draggedness to her. Everything hit her hard before. Now, she’s lighter (literally, because she has dropped a lot of weight since cutting out gluten, like me) and alive. We were so busy chatting and laughing about everything that I nearly burnt everything in the kitchen (the hot pads on the burner, the rosemary container on another burner, a dish cracking in half in the oven). But we just laughed. We couldn’t stop talking and telling stories, about movement and feeling free.