That tree branch hangs just low enough that I can grab onto it when I ride beneath it. Then I can pull myself up and let the bike ghost ride into the lawn. It’s the most fun I can have by myself, a lonely kid in a lonely neighborhood full of adults. I do this over and over again until my hands are black from the tree’s bark, and dirt is jammed into the ends of my handlebars.
Then, when I can’t do one more tree branch pull-up, I sit in the grass as the sun sets, watching the light hit my bicycle. I don’t know it then, that this two-wheeled hunk of metal and its friends will be with me throughout my life. I don’t know how many sunsets I’ll see just like this one, some suns sinking over the New England trees and others over the long desert horizon of Arizona. I don’t know it then and that’s a blessing, because part of the joy of it is the surprise, the way the light looks every time it falls over a steel frame, a round wheel, a black tire. I think for a moment that I could hop on that bike and ride the sun itself…by