It’s 10:30 am and I’m pondering the day’s outlook. The weather has been upset all week, as though swarming in thought, irately, over an argument that’s completely useless. Sometimes its tears drench the soil in a sad attempt to gain notice, and it has succeeded- other times, it is steady –motionless, sunless- overthinking its temperament.
I wish I could tell it to get over it. It is, after all, its anniversary. This uniquely exclusive day where foreign eyes, feet, unite in an attempt to reconcile their 364 days of collective oversight.
I, however, have been placed very much in the centre of it. And by absolute no fault of mine. The outlook of the day, however direction it borne, seems rather daunting. But much like Professor Lidenbrock, erect with a challenging will against [fire], air, and water, I rarely yield to monotonous days. Instead, I tighten the straps of my bicycle, that is now still attached to my car, and I decide to set out for adventure despite rain, wind, and a cool temperature.
Twenty-minutes of poor miscalculation later, I reach my cycling destination. I am dressed in a long, warm yet heavy sweater-jacket, and my hands are tucked away in red gloves. A layered scarf adorns my neck and my headphones, all settled in, await my signal.
These contemplations, which I will now share with you, occurred in this perspective order. However, as the wind became disseminated, so did my thoughts.
12:30: I latch my feet onto my bicycle and I begin to approach the path which signals the start of my cycle. I give in to a smile as I am about to pass the first rising obstacle of this trip. This hill had secured my confidence many trips back, and I stride uphill with a look that perhaps resembles the look of conquer.
12:33: My feet peddle in the direction of a narrow path decorated with enormous trees. Here I always entertain horror thoughts conjured from cinematic dramas of wild beasts startling me for amusement. And yet interestingly, here my speed always seems to accelerate.
12:35: I pass through a cavern corridor with a remarkably satisfying entrance. Its shade allows me to break from the rain and cool wind, even if done so only in a flash. I exist to a wide path where the entire layer of gases in the atmosphere of Earth reside. The city could come here to learn about nitrogen, oxygen, and argon if it wants.
12:42: The cool wind continues to struggle to make peace with me, and I begin to feel the outpouring supremacy of mother nature. She is evidently holding a grudge but I resist my confess; instead, I pretend that my cycling plans were not, after all, faulty.
12:43: At this moment I realize that I am not that great of an artist. I begin to jig all sorts of shivers. Turning back so soon, although with good reason, has in it the scent of failure. In this dramatic play, I align my neck, grip the handle-bars, with a strong gush of wind striking me, I paddle on to earn extra heroic points.
1:10: Eyes begin to well up, and I notice my thoughts now drift away. So quickly do I turn into Walter Mitty and I am thrown into Jules Verne’s exploratory novel. I am now with Professor Lidenbrock, Axel, and Hans and we had just boarded the Icelandic ship ready to explore the concealed caverns of this mysterious, secretive world led through a slender path right into the open, wide, sky-blue Mediterranean Sea. We are on this voyage, in a man-made raft, crossing six leagues. The depth and wonder that was their journey, which in the comfort of my lazy-chair and cup of coffee once captivated me, began in my mind to question all sorts of absurdities. Like how did Axel resign himself to extremity of no further aid and yet, maintain endurance, and will? And if fatigue paralyzed his limbs, and hunger tortured his body, how was he able to continue his path in a stone-age cavern?
1:11: Similar to the current state of my legs, as I navigate past the Mill Brewery Pub and continue onto the path to Parliament Hill, the unknown of the dark cavern could have easily left me utterly powerless. And yet Axel endured stillness and silence similar to the principles of a Confucius believer.
1:13: My faith in my ride was still unshaken. Like an unwary, determined child, I hold on to my bicycle but the strands of my hair continue flying about like a kite on a windy day. I am well into my ride when the thought hit me: how did Verne write that novel? What sort of research was available for him to write such an extraordinary, however slightly narcissistic, novel that provokes an explanation revolving the ‘centre of the earth’? Was he a scientist? My biographical readings of him says no. So how could a novel, published in the late 1800s, attempt an explanation into the phenomena’s of the world, and with such precision and intellect attempt an analysis into topics such as: the earths’ hidden caves; the largest sea situated in the middle of earth (i.e., the Mediterranean sea); the habitat of species, plants, and other organisms; the extinction of animals and the depiction of the wild hidden beasts underneath; precipitation; electricity; the physical factors of soil, moisture, and light; the biotic factors of food and the absence of habitants and predators; and the neurocranium and viscerocranium of the human skull?
1:14: The chapter ‘Forest Scenery Illuminated by Electricity” centred around the theme of darkness and light, when electricity was not invented for another 15 years since its publication date?
1:15: Verne referenced Pluto as a ‘vast hallow sphere, inside which the air was kept luminous by rea’ 66-years before Planet Pluto was discovered. What an eerie coincidence? Yet I am positive that a man of Verne’s methodical, fictional, and scientific pride would have been consequently proud of this connection- even from his grave.
1:21: He referenced ‘spa’- and it held the meaning it currently holds today. And Shakespeare- twice, or three times. Islam as a religion. Ancient Greek mythodology, and Greek gods. Verne also referenced many geologists, anatomists, palaeontologists, naturalists, and anthropologists, for obvious reasons; although I cannot separate their fiction from non-fiction ownerships without dreadfully pulling my eyes away from a computer screen. And lastly, Verne’s successful attempt at linguistically pulling apart words phonetically, was, to say the least (from an applied linguistics graduate like myself) above all, phenomenal.
1:22: A massive flood brings my thoughts and ride, quite systematically, to a halt. Similar to a carefully manipulated horse carriage, the master of the reigns is always in control, so was I between my bike ride initiative and mother Earth.
1:23: I rest for 5 minutes before I initiate a U-turn. A sigh of relief could be possibly heard if one was close enough; nature’s blockade is truly not one I can be accounted for. As I turn my wheels upward to head back, the only technological running device that connects me to those who are aware of my existence, at this moment, decides to forfeit its running power to the biosphere: recognizing it as the lone and central contributor of power in life.
1:24: It never ceases to amuse me that ones’ simple advantage of pressing a button could connect one with the world (turning it into ones’ oyster), and yet with an identical press, manage to bolt its shell and cease one out of it all?
1:25: The ride back now feels similar to Einstein’s time travel theory: nearly impossible. Burdened with overcast, I look up to a dark, grey sky with a look of fear that signals a storm might be on its way. I motion furiously against the wind, in continuous circular motions. At this moment I remembered Axel, as he managed to explore the cavern in steep incline.
1:37: I stop again to take a break. Most importantly, to catch a breath.
1:45: Against which the wind was rushing to, I peddled to reach my destination: “What is the hurry?”.
1:57: Around me I notice the influence of the river beat irately against the rocks; my bicycle feeling desirous, decides to lean towards the water. I feel the tilt of my bicycle and my arms welcoming the waves. I quickly take the executive decision to adjust my speed to a lower gear, and an instant raft of liveliness to my feet altered my alignment.
2:10: I continue to feel the encouragement of the raft aid me towards my objective.
2:13: Drenched in fatigue, I had two miles left to go. I grew upset in thought over Hans remaining dutiful to Axel and Professor Lidenbrock- despite all he endured on their journey. Under such severe circumstances; was that possible? Hans must have come from a breed of submissiveness and timidity, and such people rarely exist.
2:20: A family of 10 decide, rather ambitiously, to reserve the cycling path of which I am on. The path, now half a mile close to my parked car, was clogged with feet. Big and small.
2:28: I reach my parked car. Nature’s thick, stern brush painted my face red, and my heart beat louder than the street cars.
“Finally”, I muttered.
2:25: My arrival took place at a late hour in the afternoon. There was no time for self-blame. According to my account, I had the rest of the day ahead to get back to the place where warmth resided.
I can’t recall every thought or emotion endured on this seemingly short but rather long trip, but I must confess that I am not always in the right. With resignation of my passive attitude, I hope one day to submit to careful calculation and logic- and not to my will of dullness. Similar to Axel, I felt I had no heart to repeat this fortune. But like his uncle, I bore my faults with concentrated and suppressed annoyance.
It took me a whole hour to recover.