Willie loved the running and flowing and did not feel, as others do, the need to trap and cage. When he came to the books of man, he felt sorry for the running, leaping things that had been snared. Something there was in his spirit that moved him to unleash all that he found.
— couple hundred pages now into the big, strange, out-of-print book, The Last Western, by Thomas Klise
Asked by austin3008
Global warming isn’t bad for the earth, it’s bad for the inhabitants. Cycling doesn’t care if I wear a merino T with a clever hidden pocket.
I have caught up to teens with their moms in the car, and a mom in a minivan with a gaggle of kids in back. There was a guy breathing with an oxygen cannula who refused to shake my hand or even look at me. There was a twenty-something in a wife-beater who tried to sic his Rottweiler on me through the window then, after we talked, offered to buy me a beer next time he saw me at the local pizza joint. There was a visibly frightened elderly woman who’d been hoping to make the safety of a VFW bar before we could catch her. There was the guy who stood holding a fast-food lunch as his curious and amused co-workers walked by us after I followed him all the way into his office. Just a few weeks ago, a van laid on the horn behind us as we waited at a stoplight to make a left, then, as the driver passed he yelled, “Off the street,” before heading up what I knew was a no-outlet road. I pedaled up and found him at the community field at the very top, holding his granddaughter, watching a grandson play baseball. I’ve nearly been punched many times, had a few actual swings taken at me, was once or twice close to getting dragged by or under a vehicle.
— why I chase drivers who have assailed me, and what I do when I catch them: The Insurrection of Connection
There were men and women drinking, young women mostly, two of them — he never forgot this moment — standing near him to his right, one dark-haired with dark brows and, when he could see her better, a faint down along her jawbone. The other was blond with a bare, shining forehead and wide-set eyes, instantly compelling, even in some way coarse. He was so struck by her face that it was difficult to look at her…He could not keep his eyes from her. Her face was as if, somehow, it was not completely finished, with smouldering features, a mouth not eager to smile, a riveting face that God had stamped with the simple answer to life.
Age doesn’t arrive slowly, it comes in a rush. One day nothing has changed, a week later, everything has.
The year he had the house, the spring of that year and the summer were the happiest time of his life, although some of the earlier times he had forgotten. There hadn’t been the money to do much except buy a little furniture for the upstairs, but in the bareness, the simplicity, was ample room for happiness.
He wondered, as he often did, how much of life remained for him. He was certain of only one thing, whatever was to come was the same for everyone who had ever lived. He would be going where they all had gone and — it was difficult to believe — all he had known would go with him, the war, Mr. Kindrigen and the butler pouring coffee, London those first days, the lunch with Christine, her gorgeous body like a separate entity, names, houses, the sea, all he had known and things he had never known but were there nevertheless, things of his time, all the years, the great liners with their invincible glamour ready to sail, the band playing as they were backed away, the green water widening, the Matsonia leaving Honolulu, the Bremen departing, the Aquitania, Ile de France, and the small boats streaming, following behind. The first voice he ever knew, his mother’s was beyond memory, but he could recall the bliss of being close to her as a child. He could remember his first schoolmates, the names of everyone, the classrooms, the teachers, the details of his own room at home — the life beyond reckoning, the life that had been opened to him and that he had owned.
— finished the new Salter amazed and grateful
School’s out, the kids were all walking, running, tackling each other, carrying home all their art projects and posters and all that they’d been able to carry of what was packed into them through the year, the learning and the burdens, and the ambitions and the insults, a little more knowledge of the cruelty of adults but also of our hope for them, our inscrutable kindnesses. And parents standing in front of the elementary schools were talking, shuffling from foot to foot, touching a hand to a shoulder in the intimacy that’s born from saying goodbye to near strangers you saw just about every day and now won’t. What do they know of the school life of our children? What did I ever? We can only affix the present to our past, and this is a limited idea of the scholastic reality they live, so more than I try to see it I remind myself I am not seeing it. I rode part of my ride today among the schools, the little dumpy neighborhood brick ones I like best, and the big high school, and the hippy charter school in town. The noise of the children, the shouts and laughs and shrieks and growls (yes, I know, but it was there), the giggles, their footsteps, their book bags and packs whapping their backs and sides as they ran, the three girls walking together, strolling really, the two on the outside with their heads tipped to the one central as they murmured, and some kids now and then who knew me or knew to yell at a cyclist because maybe their parents ride. You’re free, I thought, and I thought, you’re freer than you know. But I was free, too, at least for the span of a lunch hour, freer than most adults would know. I might go anywhere. I might pedal on and on. Who knew what lay ahead of me? But after an hour or so, I racked my bike and walked through the little bike shop and settled back in to work. We live a curious life, those of us who ride when school is done.
Whitman gave away more copies than he sold. This was my goats’ copy. It was bought for me, and I gave it away to them. They ate it up. Someone bought them, though I offered to give them away, and wish now I hadn’t taken the money.
The power here is all in your word, which, collectively, would mean more to the fans than whatever any judge, jury, politicking official or profiteering journalist says. You lived it. You alone made the sacrifices the rest of us can’t truly understand. And you alone as a group know the price. And when you’re in there, together, every lie anyone tries, every fabricated story of how it was, every unfounded self-justification will get called out.
— from my open letter to all 26 living Tour de France winners, asking them to decide where we draw the line on it all.