My ears are freezing, snot is running down my face, I’m sore already, and I swear I just saw a rattlesnake or something in the bushes I just whizzed past. I owe this pleasant memory to my lovely father who took great joy in coercing his children to take these cruel and unusual bike rides to the boat ramp. Okay, so I exaggerate sometimes, the thing was like 2 miles from my house, not even, but it seemed an eternity and we lived on the Savannah River, and I don’t know if ya’ll are familiar with this alligator-and-snake-infested-Savannah-River-Power-Plant-radiation-dumping-into-I-swear-the-catfish-glow-and-have-three-eyes-and-shit River, but there’s a lot of wildlife in this area. Namely this one dog that loved me to take him on runs alongside my bike (aka he was chasing me, barking and nipping at my heels as I tried to pedal), mind you, my other two dogs were already running with us (nobody tied their dogs in our neighborhood), getting in my way, punking me with fake suicide attempts when cars drove by, but usually they were following my dad who was probably already there and didn’t really give a hoot that his nine year old daughter was really struggling to make this journey he so loved and I so abhorred. Oh yeah, and I was chubby so throw that into your mental picture too. Fat kid on a bike, pedaling my lard-ass in a thickly wooded area past possums, strange bugs going into my nose and eyes, father nowhere in sight, dogs acting a fool.
Once we finally reached the boat ramp, where normal people move their boats to and from the water, my dad would take me (and my brother when he was old enough to come on these fabulous excursions with us, yes, he made us do this for years) to this cemented area overlooking the water and make me do Surya Namaskar with him, or as many of you yoga-doers may know as “Sun Salutation”. “Aww, isn’t that nice”, some of you hippie weirdos may think, hell no it was not nice. The dogs would slobber all over me everytime I got into plank, mosquitoes biting me all over, I could hear strange animal sounds coming from the trees, and we looked like freaks doing downward facing dog as boats passed by. I remember all this so vividly now of our Boat Ramp trips.
Though I dreaded them at the time, I treasure these memories. I now value the lessons my father was trying to teach me: to spend time in nature, to learn to appreciate it, to exhaust the body and to clear the mind. I’m so thankful he made me go bike riding with him, day or night, rain or shine, even though I resisted (as well as many other outdoors-y activities and adventures, ya’ll have no idea, I could write a book). I think of these rides by the Savannah River everytime I do Sun Salutation in my yoga class, which I take by free-will by the way.