Contrasts

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Contrasts

 

Inching painfully forward, 7 lanes converging at the foot of the bridge. Morning rush hour in North Delta. I’m making good time until I round that last bend and come face to face with a complete standstill. Less than a kilometer to my exit, but it might as well be 250 km at the rate we are going. I feel stupid for choosing this route. Angry that we are going to be late and the rest of my day will be spent playing catch up. A semi-trailer truck cuts into my lane ahead and I feel my blood pressure climb. I growl. Like an actual deep guttural growl sound. Glancing in my rearview mirror, I can tell from my boyfriend’s expression in the car behind me that his ire is on the rise. Wonderful. Now I have his frustration to contend with.

I’m pedaling hard into the wind. The pungent smell of spring is strong off the marshes. I cut down a small slope, around some bushes, and end up in a sunny little clearing near the water’s edge. The bushes cut the wind, and the sun feels warm on my shoulders and I climb off my bike and sit on the grass. Several garter snakes slither silently into the undergrowth a few feet away and a group of Robins bounce on the grass nearby looking for worms. As I gaze contentedly out to sea, the stump of a tree in my line of site moves suddenly. I do a double-take, shielding my eyes from the sun and realize I am sitting about 50 yards away from not one, but two large owls. They stare back at me with huge black eyes, their mottled feathers making them almost invisible against the spring foliage. We stare at one another for awhile, their heads pivoting around every few seconds as a hawk or Heron or Canada goose passes overhead.

The light ahead changes and a single car moves forward before it hits the backup of cars on the other side of the intersection. I hesitate. The green light mocks me. Should I go for it? If the light changes, I could end up blocking the intersection. If I don’t go, we’ll be stuck here forever and I’m already late. My cheeks feel hot. I rev the engine and lift my foot off the clutch, sliding forward into the intersection. The light turns yellow. Shit. Shit fuck bloody hell! Ahhhhhhh!

It’s so quiet here. A little clump of daffodils stirs in the wind and a train whistle sounds from the port nearby. Time feels superfluous in this little grassy clearing. No pressure. No anxiety. Nowhere I have to be. My ‘to do’ list exists at some point in the future. A point I will arrive at eventually. But I’m not there now. The colours are so vibrant around me. My mind is quiet. I am satisfied. I don’t need anything.

Racing up the hill I think maybe we will make it in time. Maybe I’ll be able to get back to my office with enough time to eat something before my first client. Maybe I can push back my afternoon session. My mind surges ahead like a surfer on a wave of worry. My hands grip the steering wheel. Every car an obstacle to get past. I can’t escape the feeling of futility. I can’t feel my toes. What is the fucking point?

I climb back on my bike and pedal up the little rocky incline. The sun hits the water off to my right bursting into a million tiny sparkles. A silver flock of Sandpipers flashes past me glinting silver when they change direction. Over the wind, I can just make out the faint curses of my frazzled self in a parallel pocket of time so close I can almost taste it. “Fuck! Shit! Damn!” I pedal slowly down the gravel trail smiling to myself.

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