Ah, the thrill of the open road — on my bicycle. It’s summer time and tooling down a country lane on two wheels makes me feel like a kid out of school. I wish I could enjoy the wind in my hair too, but I’m a grown-up and wear a helmet, as all sensible cyclists do. But even with the helmet, there’s a sense of freedom in gliding down a hill, then pedalling furiously to keep the momentum and get up the other side without stopping.
On my journey I passed a field of new-mown hay. Nothing says summer like the smell of fresh-cut hay. That wonderful combination of green and dust and sweetness and a touch of engine oil fill the air with music and memory.
If this were the perfect summer day of my school days, my ride would end at a clear blue lake with a sandy bottom. I’d dive into the water, gasp at the sudden cold, then settle in for a gentle swim, before turning on my back and floating while looking at the sky above.
We just celebrated Canada Day in my land. It’s a day we commemorate the confederation of our country. There’s a big party on parliament hill, but most of the population marks the day with a BBQ in the backyard, or a picnic at the lake. Sometimes there are fireworks, but mostly it’s a day to enjoy summer and the freedom to bicycle down a country lane without fear. A time to enjoy family and neighbours, maybe get a little sun-burned and collect a few mosquito bites. That may sound dull, but to me it’s a lot like my bike ride — an exercise in freedom and the pleasure of summer.
Happy Canada Day to my fellow countrymen, and Happy Independence Day to my American neighbours.