Monday, August 24, 2009

hunger and thirst.

i once wrote a column for a magazine that didn't exist (high school project), outlining the need for inspiration and how i had nothing to write about and then, three hundred words later, the column was written and all it really said was that i didn't have anything to write about.

this may be similar, but we can hope otherwise.

i watched The Soloist movie last night, and enjoyed finally watching a movie of some quality, despite several instances of visceral reactions to the unglamorous realities of homelessness and mental illness. at least jamie foxx put forth a good performance, and robert downey jr. was impeccable as per usual (what a comeback from that guy, hey?). anyway, at some point in the movie, foxx's character remarks about imagining beethoven and mozart out there, in windows we see every day, still hungering and thirsting, like the rest of us. that line got me.

i don't know that 'the rest of us' hunger and thirst, and if we do, i'm pretty sure it's not on a daily basis. movies are supposed to do that thing that poems do: condense some specific part of the human condition into an experiential production that can be had, from start to finish, in a fraction of the time it actually takes to experience the topics conveyed. so i thought about the hungering and thirsting. i thought about an e-mail i wrote to a kid once explaining that he must quest for authenticity, for something to which he would give enough of himself to honestly be exhausted and able to give no more. and then i thought about my stomach: full, satisfied, needing of nothing; not hungering, and not thirsting.

much of my daily existence of late has been blissfully free of hungering and thirsting, because what i usually hungered and thirsted for has little merit when placed next to the daily needs of family. carbon shifters and a new derailleur and a compact crank that would match both of them are really all just a bunch of things, and it's arguable as to whether or not they would get me out of bed to ride. hunger and thirst here, is about inspiration. and i think that inspiration can be bought, just like sex or 'love' or credit or experience, but it is that which is internally forged that means more, lasts longer, and yields greater results. 

i planned to ride this morning, to be out the door before 6 am. it worked. i was pedaling hard, trying to warm up when the sun wasn't even up, and it was 5:58 when i looked at my watch. getting out of bed is very difficult for me. these past few months away from work have done wonders for my sleep, and i've become very reluctant to give it up. but i was trying to be better, to ride stronger, to hunger and thirst for something spiritual and enriching on two wheels. 

it was really, really difficult.

maybe it was the fact that i got to ride with a beautiful lady for two meandering hours yesterday. maybe it was the lack of breakfast. maybe it was 5:58 in the morning. maybe i do better in sunshine or daylight. whatever it was, i was not inspired. i did not hunger for more miles or thirst for more sweat. i did not feel like experimenting with the limits of my body. the bumps didn't melt away. the breeze didn't shift to push me from the back. i labored. and i was going downhill.

eventually, i forced myself up a hill, and then a long way along the water, and then up another hill. i picked up my pace. i worked up a sweat. i imagined phil ligget narrating my every move. and then i was done. just an hour. just 16 miles. just a morning ride. but i will carry with me today, the lesson that i can make myself do just about anything, regardless of whether i hunger or thirst for it.

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