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It was cold. It was the palest and most infinite light blue. It was windy, the leaves calling out warning of what lay ahead. The day was full of promise and the anticipation of the renewal of old battles. Like Don Quixote, drawn back again, but not like Don Quixote, as these would not be mere windmills but real foes. Considerable, immovable, implacable.
The day began so lightly, almost merrily, gliding and dancing gaily down towards the river. A few stray soldiers setting out on their own personal quests rolled silently by as we descended through the cold. Soon enough this traipsing was set aside and forgotten, as we engaged the first battle of the day, riding without speaking and beginning to hear the heart beat, the breath becoming noticeable, the muscles stretching and complaining as the harness straps were tightened. Soon after we crested the first peak, the capital of the southern land, a great army, clad primarily in black, atop the finest steeds from Italy and other distant lands, marched solemnly by. They must have been well over 60 strong, and apparently of great importance, as they declined the security of obvious ways to take up instead occupation of the main route, requiring them then to merge from the right onto two lanes of carriages hurtling at astonishing speed across their path. These brave or foolhardy riders were not deterred, as they simply held up their hands towards the onrushing tide, commanding it to stop, and wandered seemingly insouciant across the thoroughfare to join us once more. I must admit, the merits of this approach were not apparent, neither to us nor, I suspect, to the drivers of the carriages who, to their credit, generally took the most charitable of the options available to them.
We left them to continue their parade along the comfort of the freeway breakdown lane and took the road less-travelled. We were rewarded soon enough, as we swooped and twisted down to the causeway. It always brings to mind 19th century picnics, with their stream trains, boating, sandwiches and crinoline. The echoes of past times are still to be heard if you listen quietly. But we had no thought for unhurried languor on sunny banks. Ours was a grimmer task and sterner mood, as we took the first steps in our assault on the artillery.
The full demands of the day were now apparent. Ascending a rise of this nature, other thoughts vanish entirely, as you listen to your breath and your heart. The Professor showed that his virtues lay not only in the affairs of the mind, as he took command of our small band and led it steadily upwards.
Several lesser undulations lay between us and the junction of the coastal road, at which point we emerged onto the high heathland, with its salt-drenched and stunted foliage providing scant protection from the onslaught of the southern emissaries of Boreas, rampaging over and through the bracken. They showed us no mercy. Without defence, we could merely endure their buffeting. This was a time for simple, honest virtues. The virtues of toil, of labour. We persisted, cursing the never-ending rise and rebuking the inner doubts and temptations, and slowly, gradually reached our reward, which lay waiting, just beyond the beach.
This majestic prize was indeed sweet. Surely the most delightful of all the stanzas in this symphony, her lilting voice played a light and lovely tune as we fell quickly under her spell, into the melody that curled its way so playfully down some three miles to the quiet water of the Hacking. Like sailors we were tempted to look back, to return again to the distant peak where first we heard that song, but we steeled ourselves to continue our quest. There lay ahead some 8 or 9 miles until we would reach our first glimpse of the Pacific, where we would rest.
After the intensity of the northern reaches, this next episode was despatched without any significant demands. The bush here is more substantial and the sun was beginning to exert itself upon the day, displacing the ghastly agents of Boreas as its shafts decorated the glorious eucalyptus and began to illuminate the valleys that emerged to our right as we gained altitude.
The Pacific vista was gained soon enough. Those tormenters who had assailed us so recently now directed their cruel energy towards the vast blueness of the Pacific, tearing urgently at the surface of the great deep. We rolled on past the lookout and started again to climb, up towards Helen's town. A few last glimpses of white surf dashing itself against the sands, past the temple of the Hindus and the kangaroos and crocodiles restlessly prowling their unnaturally constricted domains, and at last we turned to the north. Towards our destination, towards completion.
Now we could put Boreas to our service. We laughed at him now. Yes, he could catch us, but we simply ignored the blows, or turned them to our own advantage. Quickly we left the good burghers of Helen behind, and hurtled down the old road. As we neared the place where water falls, Jorgo began to assert himself. Emboldened perhaps by the surge of power and energy as we harnessed Boreas, and with spirit uplifted by the thought of twelve miles of rushing downwards to the river where our day had begun, he led us past one and then another and more villages. For the victorious final descent on the southern capital, the Judge led his fellows at impressive speed along the broadway, each of them demanding the spoils that were theirs, and devouring them with calm and authoritative composure. The trivial doings of the merchants and their clientele were ignored as they passed quickly by and easily commanded the last few hills to submit.
Last edited by MREJ on Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2011 Genesis Equilibrium 20, 2012 Felt F75, 2013 Giant TCR Advanced SL, 2014 Wabi Lightning SE
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