From Tracie: We Dreamed Of Flying Away

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

We Dreamed Of Flying Away

The summer days were hot, and the air was so thick with humidity we could almost see it. We could see the steam that was rising off the asphalt, but it was worth the heat to have that stolen time. We ran, rode bikes really, almost free.

There was never a bike that fit any of us just perfectly, so the beginning of the summer was full of hours spent dismantling and rebuilding until we had at least three usable bikes. Most of my knowledge of tools was born in those summer mornings.

After your first day of cycling one dream is inevitable quote from H.G. Wells

There was something thrilling about riding as fast as we could around the one driveway in the neighborhood with a semicircle shape. The owners probably hated it, but we kept daring each other to "do the circle one more time."

I never learned how to use the gears and speed settings correctly, but I mastered the art of popping off the corner of the third driveway on the street - going a little higher each time. I secretly wished the bike would fly, and carry me far away. I only spoke that wish aloud one time, on a day when only two of us were riding. My admission was met with a, "Me too," that was not unexpected, but something unspoken between us made us never mention it again.

Turning the corner felt like entering another world. Finally clear of being seen from the brown house, obscured by the weeping willow on the corner, we stopped to rest in the shade of an overhanging oak tree. The houses around the corner felt lush and green in a way the yards on our grandparent's street never did.

We turned one more corner, and sped by slowed cars to jump over speed bumps. Our ultimate destination was the construction site that hadn't been officially marked as off limits, because none of the adults knew we were riding in that direction. We stashed our bikes behind the dumpster, and wandered through the skeletal shape; carefully climbing the crude stairs that were more like ladders in some places, arguing which third story bedroom would be the best, and laying in the hot sun when we finally reached the top floor. It is a wonder that house ever got built, because construction workers were never there on those summer days.

When the air could no longer contain the moisture, we felt the hot raindrops hit our faces. It was time to run for our bikes. Racing over speed bumps that seemed to have grown larger during our adventures, and more arduous to climb, we headed home. Never taking flight, except in our imagination and dreams. We hid in the garage, behind a wall of carefully labeled boxes, until a voice from across the courtyard called us back inside to cool air conditioning, crackers adorned with cream cheese and raisins, and sweaty glasses of Mountain Dew.
Just Write


  1. I used to ride like the wind and I was fearless on big hills of busy streets! Yikes. Now that I'm a mom, I cringe. I tried getting back on a bike as an adult, and it wasn't the same. They always say "it's like learning to ride a bike" about everything, but I couldn't find my comfort groove. I realized it's because I'm no longer fearless. Boy would I love to bottle it up and feel it again.

  2. Tracie I so can relate to this post right now where I am at. Thank you for sharing. WoW!

  3. Beautifully written! I got on a bicycle again about 10 years ago and was terrified. I never quite felt comfortable as an adult on a bike...but I at least stayed upright! Maybe there's something about the carefree ignorance of youth.

  4. LOVE this post! I remember spending entire days on my bicycle...going down the big hill in my neighborhood...or trying to be brave enough to do it anyway! ;) Total memory lane trip reading this! :)-Ashley

  5. You just made me recall a sweet memory~ a time when my brother and his friend were the only ones around to hang with, so we rebuilt/ modified 10 speeds and rode them through the woods. It was a dirt path, the bikes were not meant for, so there were tons of scrapes and fall, but way more laughs! :)

  6. I used to love riding my bike. I can distinctly remember biking down a hill and feeling the wind in my hair. I felt so powerful!

  7. Simpler times, beautifully captured. And, speaking of captures, I love your photo...there's something wonderfully artistic about dilapidated old buildings :)

  8. When I was a kid growing up in an abusive home, this is what swinging did for me. Loved your post 🚴. Stopping by as part of the SITSsharefest