The earth’s circumference at the equator measures 24,901.55 miles, which means that Charlie and I completed our first cycling lap of the world (Jersey variation) sometime between today and the last time we turned up on this site, back in August. Strictly educated guestimate, but 25,000 miles—more or less–is a plausible tally beginning in June 2003, with more than half that mileage accrued over the past four years. 2009: that’s when we became daily communicants on wheels.
“Bike ride, Yes!” was Charlie’s initial call to action, later replaced with a geographic signifier indicating which of our customary routes awaited us. Whether 19 degrees Fahrenheit (fine day for short-cuts) or 109 (at least feeling it), we’ve hit the streets and trails on all but ten or so of the days since the feast of St. Patrick, 2011, formerly our official annual opener but in recent years just another round in the season that never ends.
Today we journeyed from Bayonne City Park as near as permitted to New York Harbor at Jersey City. Liberty State Park is devastated, will be recovered in time. We rode the Harbor in full on October 28, a day in advance of the hurricane’s So. Jersey landfall. It’s fair to say that Charlie and I are the last to have experienced the beauty of that venue, as the darkening winds plowed us backwards. We were the only souls in sight.
I doubt that ‘wind’ signifies a familiar if unseen natural entity to Charlie: watching him on that Sunday I sensed him encountering each gust as a discrete force to which he responded, not as one but a relentless series of obstacles. And did he work gamely to overcome! (Chances are, by the way, that Charlie associates ‘wind’ with “Mary,” since that’s how Jimi Hendrix heard its cry and played same in a song beloved to us both).
Charlie Fisher is the heart of a warrior; a-bike I’ll follow him wherever he leads, a fellow traveler/acolyte/Dad sharing witness to this Neuro Age that announced its arrival early in our family; ours like so many others. This affinity of wiring is surely one source of our preternatural bond, though for all I know Charlie and I simply enjoy a regular loving relationship, so unlike anything I knew with my own militantly “neurotypical” father.
We were sadly stone cold if often mutually volatile aliens unto one another. In my view the religion that held a gun to my father’s head every day of his life brooked no difference such as he fearfully, too readily discerned in me, but that’s mere spec from one who turned historian way early–as I wrote in a now-ancient essay–in hopes of linking the riots in our house with the riots in the late 60s streets; to find some plausible outside connections even if only imagined. Decades later, the daily cycled witness hints—don’t know just how and can’t often bring it back home– at odds for reconciliation with the dead on the plus side of hopeless.
Charlie’s spiritual order is strictly non-doctrinal but richly ritually devotional, and as for our ‘musics’! 25,000 miles of call and response later I may struggle to ‘generalize’ this blessed mode of communication beyond the bikes…but so long as we’ve got the Navigators and our harmonies, we know daily renewal. And we know too that K. is always with us in abundant spirit on the journey (and she sets us up in advance with the bikes and the lights and all the items the ADHD king has misplaced, while Charlie handles the caps and straps and helmets ‘perfecto.’)
Lately we’ve been sharing some vintage Shane McGowan, just slightly modified to suit:
And a rovin’ a rovin’ a rovin’ I’ll go
A rovin’ a rovin’ a rovin’ I’ll go
A rovin’ a rovin’ a rovin’ I’ll go
For a pair Charlie’s brown eyes
A pair Charlie’s brown eyes
With you, Charles Vincent Fisher, brown-eyed handsome young man…with you always