They Love To Ride Their Bicycles …

Yes, all things must pass, but we can still enjoy them now

It doesn’t take much to brighten my world — or cast a shadow over it. And sometimes the two are indivisible. 

Which is kind of my definition of melancholy …

Sweet sorrow.

Just now, I was looking out my kitchen window.

Up at an occluded, going-on-dreary grey sky, and out across a going-on-dreary housing estate.

Drying my coffee cup, I noticed the three children, two girls and a boy.

All three were wearing the same navy tracksuits, the schools’s name across the back.

The younger girl, I would guess, was around six, her school morning blonde plaits perfectly tight — for now — against her head; the boy, the same age, I would say, black-haired, loud and laughing.

They were on bicycles, similar, no mudguards, thicker cross country tyres. The frame of her’s pink, his a lurid pop art apple green.

The older girl, more serious, around 10, was on a scooter … de riguer this summer, for all ages, especially those motorised ones the teenagers are bombing around on.

Quite the sight when you see them, all wearing masks, and like a murmuration, taking a turn en masse out the road.

Across the way from our corner house there is a lumpy rectangle of green grass, that no amount of trees or pretty flowers can beautify, surrounded by a narrow path, three town houses running down one side, to my left.

And the two cyclists — no helmets — had taken off, circling the perimeter. 

Oh, the squeals, the howls, the laughing yelps, as they picked up speed,  sometimes overshooting the path near me to whizz out onto the road — they knew there was no traffic coming — and jamming on their brakes, accompanied by that whoosh and reckless scud and slide of expensive school shoes turned sideways to parachute to a halt.

And off they’d go again.

The older girl was scooting around the same track, easily avoiding the younger pair, much more measured in her fun, but enjoying herself.

Savouring these few precious moments before the call from whoever was driving them today on the school run.

I couldn’t take my eyes of the cycling pair: circling and circling, lap after lap, for the sheer uninhibited heck of it all, his feet up over the handlebars one time as he freewheeled down the sloping part of the path to my right.

As they lapped and accelerated and freewheeled, I thought of seagulls when they stop flapping their wings a moment, and just glide and ride the wind, in effortless abandon, or so it seems, before resuming normal flight.

And I freewheel and circle with them … and with these children.

And of course, the melancholy kicked in too, as I tried to recall gliding and riding the wind of my imagination as a kid.

Full of aimless energy and fizz.

Way too much verve and jizz for ordinary walking and running, all bubbling near the surface like a lemonade can ready to explode when popped … like when you see tiny kids gathered in a loose circle, and there’s always one or two leaping on the spot, hopping on one foot, maybe catching a heel, and spinning in a circle of delight when something amuses them, which is often.

And they positively howl with glee.

And I’m thinking of that imperceptible moment when you lose that capacity for uninhibited joy.

And you spend the rest of your life it seems trying to recapture it.

And I think of Michael Stipe’s wonderful words that capture that longing for youthful abandon so simply:

“These things, they go away, replaced by everyday”

All sorts of sports and pursuits are engaged in, and fun is had, yes, but not like it used to be in those live-long Shangri-la days of childhood.

And I’m thinking of our darling K, who was the epitome of that dashing, sparkling effervescence, as she careered about.

We went to the same holiday resort near Barcelona two years in a row.

The first year, we couldn’t keep her out of the swimming pool, as she splashed and dashed about, making instant swimming buddies, even when neither spoke the other’s language. Just the common language of fun, frolicking and friendship.

And the next year, she hardly visited the pool.

Shakespeare’s words about the ultimate passing of youth come to mind:

“Even Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust”.

(From Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun)

But I also know that joyful, funny, capering creature is still in there, and hope she finds some of that pizzazz again.

I could do with some of it myself.

But then, with age comes acceptance too, and for now I am perfectly happy to enjoy the frolics of the three across the way.

Part of the everyday too.

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23 comments on “They Love To Ride Their Bicycles …

  1. “And I’m thinking of that imperceptible moment when you lose that capacity for uninhibited joy.” Me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely post, Enda. Feelings that we know all too well as we get older, the feelings that I had watching my granddaughter running around the tree outside my flat a few days ago. We have to enjoy them while we can.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh to be young and free! Not a care in the world. I’m glad they were enjoying life even with masks on. Makes me wonder how that generation will grow up – will they have more anxiety due to Covid? Time will tell. Regards Christina

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written! I wish it was easier for us all to get a daily dose of ‘carefree joy’ in our days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We can’t abandon our want of carefree joy. My family drive me insane but we still have our moments of fun and laughter. It’s different when the kids get older that’s for sure, but I watched my 30 yr old and 10 yr old having a splashing fight in the paddling pool in the summer and I know that deep down there is still time for fun. Sometimes you have to look a little harder, and sometimes it’s right outside your window 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish my kids could ride bikes like that. The freedom I remember from my own youth was exhilarating. (My son is “low functioning” autistic & my daughter is too young yet. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh that uninhibited joy.. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, life becomes less of a joy and more of a struggle, or even a never ending worry and to-do list. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
    Don’t sweat the small stuff. Breathe deeper. Smile more often. Appreciate the small things in life. Embrace your inner child and reclaim the joy that you once saw in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This reminds me how precious these moments are and how I need to embrace in the simple joy that my son currently shows in the things he loves. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such a great description. I often worry that I am helping to push the joy out of life with my kids everytime I have to tell them to be careful or stop them doing something. There is something truly magical about the joy children experience. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jade, tr can be tricky keeping that childhood innocence and sense of fun alive, but we can hardly not stop them doing certain crazy things! Hehe


  10. Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeamLinky – it’s great to see you! Thank you for whipping me back to my childhood too. I remember those carefree ‘cycling-round-the-block’ days where it was all about the joy of spinning round the corners, racing and gliding for the thrill of it. And never about getting from A to B.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a beautiful and poignant post, Enda. I love watching children play and that uninhibited joy that they have. It is such a shame that we lose that as we get older – the magic changes, but there is still magic there. Seeing the world through my children’s eyes helps it come a little closer. I’m sure K will find that pizzazz once more even though it will be a different kind of pizzazz. #WotW


  12. I have found since having my own kids I have got a little bit of that joy back just joining in with their silliness and japes #DreamTeamLinky


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