The Boy on the Bike

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12-inch tire tracks flanked by miniature footprints stretch through the white fluff in front of me. The snow is no match for my boy and his bike. He rides no matter the weather; rain, snow, sleet, heat. Like his father, my Emerald adores being on two wheels. Barreling straight for me, he swerves, crashing into the front wheel of the stroller, where our little Ruby peeks out from beneath the layers I have smothered her in. She whimpers at the jolt. I scold.

His looping and zigzagging a few feet in front of us makes me dizzy with worry. Tires slipping and sliding on the glassy ground, bald from their many miles of boyish glee. I brace, preparing for the aftermath of an impending crash.

Up close, I notice how the salt eats slowly away at the metal bolts in the rims. The hem of his jacket soiled with street grim kicked up from half-thawed February puddles. My eyes rise to his nose, red and raw from the winter morning. Up close, I see the details. All the things that need to be corrected, cleaned, repaired.

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But then he bolts and tears off down the road. Into the distance. Distance provides perspective. Scope, dimension, a sense of scale. In the space between us I notice how tall he has become. His agile feet are now ready for the challenge of pedals. Legs strong enough to push against gravity’s pull. Gliding away from me I see how far he has gone; his path through the snow evidence of the route he has chosen. I see what lies in front of him. Harder terrain. New gears.

He takes his eyes off the horizon and looks down, distracted by the shadows under him. Wobbling, he loses balance and falls. The details clouded his vision. They cloud my vision. Little corrections robbing me of the momentum needed to plow through the snow. Up close I watch the wheels of life churning under me. Monotonously propelling me forward, a daily cycle kicking up rocks and dust. Looking down I see the shadows of our life. I see the details. Tiny dings in the frame.

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But when I lift my eyes, I see the view. The horizon shows me where I am going. Looking forward, I notice not the shadows underneath me, but the light ahead. Expanse. Possibility. Things that await.

Closeness magnifies the details, and distance offers the perspective. Closeness is the truth, but distance shows the grace. Both are vital to forward movement.

The road stretches in front of him, and looking forward, he grows to meet it.

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