Poetry.

Breathing

I lie flat upon my back,
having just flung myself to the ground following the full effort of a bicycle ride up a long hill,
breathing deep and hard,
swallowing gulps of restoring air.

I feel my rib-cage lift against the fabric of my shirt as each breath enters my lungs,
my muscles and cartilage stretch to accommodate the air,
then rapidly compress,
expelling a rush of sound.

I attend to the bed of grass in which I lie,
its earthy smell of hay,
its tiny fruiting heads gently scraping against the skin of my forearms,
its stalks waving in the wind and against one another in soft whispers.

I feel the simple pleasure of being alive,
as a gentle breeze flows across my chest,
and the spring Sun shines down and warms my skin.

Around me all else in this glorious moment unnoticed,
ignored.

Just.

Breathing.

From a memory of riding from Rodalben to the Husterhöh Kaserne in Pirmasens, Germany, 1975 up Pirmasenser Strasse. I rode with Ted Withycombe, after first riding from Pirmasens to Kaiserslautern, playing soccer with some soldiers at Vogelweh Kaserne, and then riding back. What a day!

Many street names in Germany follow a practical pattern. I learned the pattern by asking a local in the town of Rodalben for directions back to Pirmasens, a neighboring town. He told me to take Pirmasenser Strasse, of course. When I arrived in back in Pirmasens, I found that the name of that same street was Rodalber Strasse, because in the other direction it took one to Rodalben.

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