The Gypsy in My Soul

When I set out on my bike yesterday, I was planning to take one of my neighborhood cycling routes.  It was chilly, with a noticeable breeze out of the northwest to reinforce the 35° air temperature, and so if I took the neighborhood route I’d be cycling around my own house for 21 miles of road distance, able to break it off and get back quick if I got too cold.  But I would take a side trip up the right-of-way to the Bike Trail just to check out how much was left of the slowly melting ice.  For future reference.

But when I got up there and saw it was clear either way as far as I could see, those plans flew out the window.  With only an instant of reflection, I was rolling into the wind toward Herndon.  It’s an instinct that is distinctively (though of course not uniquely) part of the American character, whether in real-life characters from Johnny Appleseed to Davy Crockett to Pa Ingalls to Amelia Earhart to Woody Guthrie to Jack Kerouac, or their fictional counterparts like Huck Finn, Daisy Miller, or Shane.  When you see the open road, or river, or sky, you’ve got to go.  And so I went, not so bravely or so far as the intrepid heroes listed above, but far enough.  Farther than most individuals I saw on their bikes, skateboards, or feet yesterday.  Far enough to feel good about turning around for home, and close enough still to be warm in my winter duds when I got there.

If I am fancy free,
And love to wander,
It’s just the Gypsy in my soul.
. . . . .
There is no other life
Of which I’m fonder,
It’s just the Gypsy in my soul.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

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