Bicycle Gypsies

The Heat- again this heat

In this heat without wind you become grateful for the small things like the pull from a passing lorry which, though warm, fans the moisture on your body. The constant white line of the hard shoulder under the wheel glows like a sung note. The tarmac sparkles and confuses at times, as sometimes from the effort, blotches appear in front of my eyes. Sunflowers grow wild amongst the gravel and flowers like white buttercups cling, ivy-like, across the hills. And white, empty snail shells – millions of them, bleached bones now and then- sometimes the jaw of a goat, mostly just unidentifiable bits- and dry beer cans as empty as the river beds which crack the foothills. This morning we sat in the river before we left but our t-shirts were dry and then wet again by the top of the first hill…

Bicycle cracks the mind

When you wake the heat appears to have left but then it begins to whisper. Suddenly, by 10am, you notice it is standing over you shouting, SHOUTING. In this heat, with so few shops or towns with shops getting enough water is a priority. Climbing a pass yesterday it was nearly all I could think of. First, saliva becomes thick like glue. Concentration – keep the mouth shut whilst breathing. Conserve what you have. Contemplate- licking glistening skin. The earth cracks and opens in a solidarity of thirst but it gets that I wouldn’t spare it a tear for it willingly.
Breath becomes loud in the silence and almost audible heat. Flies buzz passed and whiz away poignantly, like something out of a western. If there was wind there might be tumbleweed. But there is no wind and not a cloud in the sky. At times it’s too far to the next edge of tree for shade and I just stand in the glare to recover my heart rate.’

-Part of a blog post I wrote during a two month cycle trip through France and Spain over the Pyrenees, following an evacuation from Damascus and consequent waiting around.  

Here’s the blog link for it.