He has a bike now, and is one step closer to the kind of independence Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac sang about as they wove folk tales for a new America. It wasn’t an unburdened America, but it was an America where everyone could hit the road, and the highways ran purple and red with break lights and neon signs.
I watched Bro today as he climbed up onto his fluorescent green bike, with its little bell perched proud and ready on the handlebars, and thought of the time I can no longer remember, when I must have had the same sense of wonder and potential I saw in his eyes.
These days I wake up and head straight for coffee, tired before I have begun, but once, I know, that I woke up and headed straight for the world. Bikes were wind and air, and the world was a place not yet discovered.
I have tried to imagine a place where not everything is accessible on my computer. Where the world is not blown in to me on the break-neck speed of hyper-media and vacant lots are filled with trees, not mini-marts, stripped malls and ghost stories.
If, as a child, I was aware of the infancy of this new technology centered world, I was only aware of it from behind the legs of my 6’4 dad’s green plaid bell-bottoms. In this world everything was optional: a non-committal place I opted out of in the sheer innocence of youth. Things existed either to take up time, or to make it, and if I was in charge it was about now.
So today Brody chooses his bike, and sees trails where there are none. His time is dedicated to the backyard where the tree fort we have been talking about since before he could talk will soon be built.
He is a dream-maker, a romantic in the most perfect sense of the word.
Today, for Bro, dreams are options: roads to take and days to fill. There is a lifetime of things to discover.
This summer he will get his own ice-cream cone, and perhaps even grill his own marshmallow. He will look through a telescope and see the patterns of the moon. He will light a lantern on the back patio and catch a firefly, with the sole purpose of letting it go. And he will take off on his bike, training wheels in tow, and I will run beside him, and maybe even catch a bit of the open road, the road not taken, that I left somewhere in my long ago.