Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Righteous and the Unrighteous Alike

The day was hot, hotter than I'd expected, and I'd made the wrong call.

I-66 is often the wrong call.  It's a chaos-monster of a road, utterly unpredictable.  Oh, it'll always be jammed solid at rush hour, but one little twitch in the flow pattern of the universe, and it'll lock up completely.  Or, if there's another quantum-level twitch, it'll flow smooth and swift.  You just don't know.

I'd had that moment of decision, as I rolled back from seminary on my bike, the top-box filled with books from the library, research materials to fuel the next two weeks of my doctoral writing.  I could go left, onto Route 50, with its lights and stop and go.  Or I could risk Sixty Six.

I rolled the dice, gambled, and lost.

I knew I'd lost as I pulled down the exit ramp.  Exit ramps are fun, usually, an opportunity to let my bright little bike breathe deep into its willing cylinders, hooting out a rebel yell as I hit sixty in less than four seconds.  But this ramp had me slowing, and then notching into a stop and go line that stretched out as far as the eye could see.

It wasn't even bicycle pace.  A particularly motivated four year old could probably have kept up on their Big Wheel.  And the road was hot.  The sun had been bright all day, though clouds were coming in, and the ambient temps were in the mid-eighties.  Right there standing on the dark baked asphalt slab, surrounded by thousands of idling cars, it was much hotter.

I, of course, was in my trusty riding suit.  It's great protection, and in summer, it's perfectly cool.  So long as you're moving.  I'd unzipped the front zipper, and the vent zippers under my pits and across my back.  But we weren't moving.  I was becalmed.  I felt the sweat beading inside the helmet.  I felt the heat rising from the little motor idling between my legs.

This is no fun at all, I thought, among other unpastorly imprecations at myself for foolishly having risked such a random road.

A shadow fell across the road, and moments later, there was a sound of impact against my helmet.  "Spock," it went. "Spock," it went again, and there was cool moisture on my face.   Rain.  Raindrops make a percussive Nimoy onomatopoeia when they hit a helmet visor.  I looked up.  Huh.  The clouds didn't seem particularly like rain.

They were, though because then suddenly it was raining, tropically, heavy drops widely dispersed.

I could, I suppose, have received the rain as yet another annoyance.  Now it's rackafrackin' raining!  And I'm standing in the middle of an interstate.  On my bike.  Going nowhere. In the rain.

I chose to feel it differently.  Lord, it felt like a blessing.  I leaned back, and let the water strike my face and chest, tiny blows of grace on after another.  I felt the heat dissipate from the road, and from the air.

Rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous alike, I recalled.  How we receive that rain, though? That's up to us.