Sunday, July 6, 2008

fourth weekend

And finally we sit still at the end of the "fourth" weekend, our feet aching, our backs straining, our hands puffy and dry: I slather on some peppermint foot cream, pour a glass of South African Chardonnay and reflect on the events.

Glad to have ridden my bike in to work on Thursday, on account of the village resembling the site of a bake sale with 5 minutes to go and all the goodies 75% off..the hoardes have descended on us for the weekend, possibly the season. There appears to be an inverse relationship developing between the numbers in town and their ability to do it in a mannerly fashion: I swear it gets worse annually: so I loaded my backpack up with some mesclun, mustard and chocolate soymilk and headed for the hills. On arriving home, I switched my commuter CX bike out for the singlespeed and cruised the woods by the house for an hour, then headed into town for dinner with Matt and John. John, the woodsman from NH, had taken it upon himself to nourish the bare-ish patch of grass outside the house with some compost in April: and now in early July, the side of the busy road is thick with the bodies of some 50 or so tomato plants, who wintered happily in the compost heap, and now find themselves on the side of route 114, open to assault and theft from passers by. I vowed to defend the patch, and will come daily at lunch time to check.and munch.. on their status!

Friday (the fourth proper) saw us varnishing Aisling, our beautiful wee boat, getting a coat on before a planned late weekend launch. We are tardy this year, in part with D-lo getting his new company builing underway, but also with the major renovation on the whaler taking priority. Styling now, we will have two very shippy boats to mess about in, and it will be worth the late evenings and early mornings for the past weeks..A quick 90 minute MTB ride with D before heading into Sag Harbor for the main event of the day..participation in the village celebrations at the Whaler's church. This year, I was invited to be one of the readers of the declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, as a fundraiser for the Walter Reed Fischer House and commemorating the life (and death) of Jordan Haerter, a local kid from Sag Harbor who died while serving in Iraq in April.

The celebration was wonderful, an ancient church, quiet and cool on this muggy day, the simple white wooden interior a possible reference to the interior of the whaling ships from the village's past. A collection of 15 of the villages sundry members, and a congregation of 100 or so from town. Beginning with some historical perspective before launching into the D. of I., I truly felt part and parcel of this little town on the other side of the Atlantic (where I have my other home). Some patriotic songs, (for which I am still scouring the pages for verses) while I feel a little unsettled, coming from a warring nation and growing up pained by its sufferings, I haven't quite reconciled myself to the fact that my adopted nation is steeped in blood and has still such a militaristic culture. I find myself singing, no, belting out the verses of "this land is your land", an old Woodie Guthrie folk song from ths 30's, and wishing that this was the national anthem, not a mention of god, or fighting, purely a celebration of the topography and physical beauty from coast to coast.

...This Land Is Your Land
This land is your land This land is my land

From California to the New York island;

From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,

I saw above me that endless skyway:

I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;

And all around me a voice was sounding:

This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,

As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:

This land was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking

Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,

As I go walking that freedom highway;

Nobody living can ever make me turn back

This land was made for you and me."

The reading of the Bill of Rights followed, with audience participation in the form of clapping between the serene comments, especially when referencing such current notions such as limitation of government intrusion into reading material, government seizing of property, government acting without the will of the populace. I deepened my understanding of how great and good ideas are universal and timeless, as relevant to the Irish struggle with Britain as the the American struggle that I was celebrating, as relevant today as we see our constitution eroded in the name of a game that is not the will of the people. As I join in the group readings, I wonder if the Bill of Rights was more well read, for example in the weekly paper: would we have even the 28% support for this administration..A jolly good read it was, and I look forward to re-reading it, to better familiarise myself with the great ideas and ideals of the old boys of this nation, and those espousing these ideas today, just imagine, freedom, justice, equality, pursuit of happiness... How radical!

Saturday: 2 and 1/2 hours on the SSPD, alone: (Dennis is varnishing coat #2), I work on turns, particularly my right turns, the not-so -vanilla side.. and minimizing the braking. Definitely a good tactic, taking corners only as fast as I can handle the bike, the terrain, the balance: getting better at this stuff, I only dab once in 25 miles or so.
FIREWORKS:sponsored by Sag Harbor Yacht club: need I say more? This event gets bigger every year: we rode into town then went out in the harbor to watch the spectacle.

30 minutes of beautiful, gaudy, startling sparklers, then the most amazing finale, with a 30 second sinister militaristic component.. phew.. I am sure it was in memory of the young Haerter boy...very impressive, very moving sight..

Sunday, group ride, out east by Amagansett: 3.5 hours, the legs are nearly ridden off me but the hours working on the technical stuff pay off; On the return ride, I have more energy, better climbs, sharper corners, smoother descents. No crashes, oh except when I broke a chain on a nasty climb. Bang, straight into the stem as my chain exploded into the woods, as I hit a root while climbing hard at hour #2. D to the rescue with a new masterlink,nd we are underway in less than 5 minutes. What a hero. I resolve to learn to carry these things, looking ahead to the PA (100 mile MTB) race with a new, non-Wipperman chain. Lessons in life.

La Superica for dinner, belly bomb.. walk the vilage, hang time with Julie and Rick Laspesa from Rotations bike shop, home to write this, then to crash. G'nite, good weekend. Aisling will hit the water this week, and our summer evenings will begin..