Ronald May

Under The Night’s Sky

My first draft of this post was wholly unacceptable. Too much meandering and not nearly enough point making in it’s content. Although wandering and digression do seem to be bad habits of mine in writing. Perhaps I will do better with this draft.

Let me put it to you this way, as I am sure you have many amazing memories of evenings where you saw outstanding moonrises or the wee hours of a morning that you stared up at that star filled sky and found yourself in complete awe. Well, so too have I but with perhaps a perspective more askew than yours.

I began Cycling as a form of transportation at the age of 15 full time. It took off for me fully four years later when it was my sole form of getting to and fro. Way back then I kind of hoped that I would always stay on a bike. I wanted to be that older middle aged fit guy who slung his bike on his shoulder as he climbed up the stairs to his apartment. But, we all change as life moves and we go with it. My last good day’s of riding ended in 05. This was the year I started driving everywhere for work and it was part of what I lost within myself along the way to coming here.
When this is over I will be back on a bicycle most likely until I absolutly cannot do it. I figure 85 or so, hahaha! Anyway, there is a great line in the movie Singles that may have been borrowed from someone else but it resonates and is the essence of this posting. The character say’s ‘I just like the way the world looks from a bicycle.’

So, like you I have many great memories of riding home i or going to work early in the morning and seeing the moon or stars and so many other things as well but when you are on the seat of a bicycle I believe you are more in the world and not on it, which is a paraphrase of one of the great poets, possibly Walt Whitman but I am often mistaken on my poetry.

To describe what it feels like to ride in the pure chill of four a.m. In early February and watch the Moon set as you make your way to work is difficult because I am sure we have all felt that other wordly sense of grace and wonder even if you are sitting comfortably in a car. But, the joy of the moment is uniquely different when you brave the cooling night air of October to make your way home and the Moon rises slowly and light’s up the dark roads.

I probably have fifty really astounding memories of being out riding in the night to get home or get to work. At least five of them I was drunk when I left to make my way home, and one of those five had a possum involved! I would like to share just a few that I reflect upon often here because we do not get much time with the Moon here or even the night sky because it is so obscured by all the damn light’s! Next time you find yourself flying at night and looking out a window, if you see a compound in the middle of nowhere and it is lit up everywhere, yeah, that is most likely a Prison. So, part of the punishment is that we never really experience the night sky as it truly is, hell, we are lucky to be able to see Mars and Venus.
It is not something I realized until about a year into being locked up. You really lose that sense of darkness and the feel that nightime offers. You miss it if you are like me and have always enjoyed the possibilities that evening offers. Even the simplicity of how the house feels when it is late and you have one lamp on in a room and it is just you and the still quiet, that is something, ahhhh but I digress as I warned you I might.

Let me share a few memories to wrap this all up. For many, many years I believed that the only place the Moon beamed to my satisfaction was in the east of the Arizona desert. The way it would come up and shine so bright in the dry heat was the only way I ever wanted to see it. Many night’s I remember contemplating the Moon or Sky as a teenager out with friends hanging out in the empty desert or at a park near home. These remain special moments in my history because although we see the Night Sky all our life sometimes we do not connect with it right away. My preference towards the night began in those adolescent years and has grown deeper as I have aged.

The best moment I contemplate even today occured way back in 93. It had been a month or so since Lisa and I had broken up,(this was the second girl named Lisa I had dated that year.) and she called to have me come pick up a bike I had loaned her. I knocked and this guy answers and so I am like, ‘shit this is awkward!’. She comes out from hiding behind this guy and get’s the bike. Now, I am not gonna lie, I had hopes that Lisa would call and want to work things out, eventually. This clearly indicated that was not going to happen. As I headed east back home I looked up and watched the 3/4 moon rise. So I put in my Concrete Blonde cassette and played ‘Mexican Moon’. With no sadness and no regret I let go of Lisa fully in that moment and moved forward in my life. Closure does not always come that easy but that one was great.
If we move ahead a few years I can share with you one night where I was now up here in the North West and we had a really good full moon in July of that year. I was out between Enumclaw and Auburn and I stared out at the majesty of Mt. Rainier in full moon glow. You see it often enough living here but at night it is different.

My last really outstanding one is seeing the Moon light penetrate through gaps in the clouds and shine down on the lake I was paralleling about fifty miles east of Spokane. I even puled over just to stare at it for several minutes because c’mon how often do you get to see something that spectacular?

I ride mostly city streets on the bike but when you take it out onto roads far away from home you have a completely different perspective of sounds and air. When it is only your breath and the whir of the gears you notice so many things, especially if the road is super dark and you just want to get through it. It is like your senses are on high absorption and you are aware of everything at once.

Walking also creates a special relationship with the world and if I may indulge one last memory here. My last residence was only about a mile from this great look out point in Seattle called Sunset Hill. The many night’s I walked from home to there and back are full of lovely wonderful memories for me that help remind me of why the little things that we take for granted are important to value as often as we kind remind ourselves to do so.

I feel like when we cherish the moments we have with friends or just being alone with our thoughts, that is the time we are more in the world than on it. Till next time.

Ronald May
DOC #359444

Categories: Ronald May

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