Thursday, June 16, 2016

Every day in June #s 13, 14, & 15

The streak is still going. 25 miles on Monday with Coty, and then two short days, squeezing rides in between thunderstorms or at the end of a long day. I am finding that the first few strokes on the pedals are like a deep breath. Riding a bike makes me feel like a kid sometimes. Pedal, breathe, coast, lean into a turn, stand up and pump going up a hill, lean way down gripping the lower bars, back parallel to the ground, fly downhill. I finish each ride coasting down the street and then a few pedal strokes to shift to a higher gear so the next day's start will be easier. I turn into the driveway, a slight uphill, and stand up on my bike over the bump and down the driveway, like a jockey at the end of a race. I am that ten year old girl who dreamed of race horses and pretended to win the Derby.


I was very sad today when one of my students, an Afghan woman who wears a hijab, explained to me that the reason she hadn't come Monday or Tuesday was that she was afraid to walk from her apartment the half mile to the center. Someone might be angry with her because of the gunman in Orlando, she said. I am afraid, she said. Drivers passing by would not know, of course, that her husband has a Purple Heart and that he fought shoulder to shoulder with American Marines in his home country, the country he had to flee because he fought with the US. I couldn't tell her not to feel afraid because she is right, her fear is not irrational. Someone might see her hijab and be angry. There could be some backlash. I could only say I'm sorry you feel afraid and tell her that I pray for her protection. She asked if I could give her some fabric so we pulled out bags of brown and purple, her choices. She will make beautiful headbands with embroidery and earn money for her handwork and be delighted that she is able to help her family with the skill of her hands. When I was leaving the building, she saw me and waved and smiled and blew me a kiss. I wanted to cry for all the crazy, terrible, unjust, beautiful, messed up, sweet, tender things in this world.

I came home with two teenagers - one from Congo, one from Burma. They are beautiful, bright, thoughtful girls. They swam for two and a half hours, laughing and lounging in the pool.


We are reading aloud again. Coty reads and I cut fabric or press quilt squares. Deep jewel colors - purple and teal - and goldenrod in simple squares are the start of a new quilt. I am working at it slowly, but reading together in the evenings will speed it along.


It's morning now, after a night of storms. The air is cooler and fresh. I hear a wren. The coffee is brewing. I will sit on the porch for a bit and read. It's a very good way to start a day.

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