What a word. If I think of it too much I might get transported back to the eighth grade when I was supposed to get a diploma for “graduating” middle school. Only I didn’t, since I still had to take a couple of summer school classes in order to actually “graduate”. It’s strange that fifteen or twenty years later, thinking about the day I was told it was not worth attending the damned thing since all I would get was an empty envelop to pose with for the picture, even now I get a light sting in my chest. A missed ceremony. A missed fake ceremony, that only exists in my mind to accentuate the pure, natural, cosmic rite of passage that is going on right now.
I can see the edge of the trail. And beyond it, a miniature precipice packed with a web of thorny twigs that poke with malice through a soft blanket of dead leaves. “What was it?”, I wonder. There’s a piercing silence, and the light flickers on the dirt trail as the leaves that are still hanging to the trees above tremble because of the cold wind. If only I had taken the low line. I can feel my feet above my head now, and I see where my front wheel dove into the precipice and out of the trail. I have been catapulted over the bars. But I am serene. There is no time to panic. No time to regret. No time. Only acceptance.
The silence and the trees and the moment that stretches out, eternally if allowed, are the ceremony. The silence a sort of ode to what’s coming, a celebration of inevitability. The dry trail will not move for me, the light and the shades of the leaves will not stop their dancing, even when I lay flat on my back they will not be perturbed, and I will have to pick myself up, like so many times before and dust-off, walk back to my bike and unwrap it from itself, check it, reset the chain and off I’ll go, the pain will come later. But for now, let this moment of silence bath me with certainty, and let the curling cloud of dust that carries through the air behind me embrace me and spit me out, only to settle on me like a fleeting blanket. Let me live through the unveiling ceremony of the unavoidable.