In the midst of the cold season, with snow on the ground and rainy days, Georgia Hamblett reflected on the word ‘bleak’ for our February Creative Showcase.
She enjoyed cycling. The majority of the time, at least. Sometimes she went out and hated it; she hated how cold she got, how compelled she felt to rack up the miles no matter what, how exhausted and drained she felt as she reached yet another hill just as her energy levels had plummeted off a cliff. But then no one could enjoy something all the time, could they? With any relationship, it was never entirely faultless and glistening. Couples had arguments, people fell in and out of love with their job. Her relationship with cycling was like the terrain she rode, bumpy with lots of ups and downs.
But overall, she enjoyed it. She was sure she did. Nothing was comparable to the elation she got as she zoomed effortlessly down a winding country lane, feeling free and her fears far-off, frolicking between fields of crops growing golden from the kisses of sunrise. She loved feeling as though the views, the smell, the feeling, were nature’s special gift, just for her.
That’s how she felt as she set off on her ride that afternoon. She’d been cooped up all day (how she hated being stuck indoors), but the prospect of being able to spend an afternoon in the fresh air had kept her spirits from drowning. For miles, nature was overly generous – clear blue skies despite the January frost, the bitterness of the wind not quite as harsh as the weatherman had predicted. It was chilly, but the sun lit up the sky and in years to come, she was sure she would look back on the photos she took of the rolling hills and think they had been taking on a summer’s day.
Or maybe not. Because, although the ride thus far wouldn’t have cemented itself in her memory as an amazing cycle, it had been pleasant enough. But then it made an attempt, a successful one, to anchor itself into her memory as one of the worst outings she had experienced.
The blue sky turned grey, then black. No sooner had she registered the change in lighting, then it started to snow. For the first few flakes it felt magical, like she was drifting in a snow globe. But then the wind started to growl and the flakes came down not delicately, but dangerously and destructively like icy daggers. They writhed into her eyes, turning to a sticky glue when mixed with her tears. Her hands froze stiff whilst her bike had other ideas, skidding and sliding along the unrecognizable road she had ridden downtime and time before.
She couldn’t see the fields of green now, just stretches of bareness over which the wind grew stronger. The trees which usually looked so fruitful crept over her head, their starved, bony fingers eager for disaster. She tried to keep calm, take steady breathes, but she breathed in snow and fear and it was suffocating her.
Everything looked so bleak. But surely, everything wasn’t about to end?
Article image courtesy of Sarah MacAllan.
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