Once a year I allow myself the luxury of keeping completely in balance. The other 364 days of the year I falter at times: am I spending too much time reading instead of writing? Am I too shy, or do I share too much? Am I cooking the asparagus too long, or too short? Am I giving a prompt to my writing class that will make them dislike me, or thank me?
“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
But in life, do we not move too much? Shouldn’t we stay still a bit more often, to hear the music of the birds; to see the leaves turn from bud to bloom to a bright orange goodbye; to feel our muscles burn from a walk on the beach or a push on a pedal?
Ah, yes, which brings me to this one perfect summer day, when I balance my body on a rented beach bike.
We all meet there – at the NJ seashore – every summer. We come from Boston and Maryland and D.C., and even further. We drop the nomenclature of sister and brother, of aunt and uncle, of grandmother and in-law, and instead, all become friends for the week. Together, we cook, sunbathe, go for long beach walks, and watch the children frolic in the surf and sand.
The years blow away with each block I pass. The sun shines down on me as if I’m an old friend who’s been away too long. My leg muscles chuckle and my rear end laughs at the hard rigid seat.
I’m 5 years old and my life is in front of me like a soft summer morning that never ends.