Saturday, February 21, 2004

Wherever the road leads

Palm fronds are hugging the river banks. Tyres are bobbing in the quiet river. The sqwuak of sea gulls are carried from a distance by the gentle sea-breeze. All signalling to me - it's time to stop and let mother nature spoil you for awhile. I dismounted and pushed my bike over to a shack at the beach. Leaning it there, I romped through the soft, white sand that swallowed my shoes like so much flour.

I rode 20km to Sabak beach and back today. It was the most thrilling and satisfying experience ever.

The ride there was tough. Grinding 24km per hour in the hot morning sun (I was timing myself from milestone to milestone), my quadriceps burned and I would've been roasted lobster-read if not for sunblock. But it was worth the agony. After tearing through the winding kampung road there, all 10km of it, I eased into a village slip road, beckoned by sheep bleating and goats baa-ing. Just a few more corners, and at last a sturdy plank bridge takes me across the river mouth over to the shore.

This beach is spotted with old coconut trees that have long since been drowned by the ascending shoreline. These old growths have long since been choked grey by the salty water. All that was left to remind us of its swinging days were the splayed inner fibres of its stumps where they had been chopped. The fibres stuck out softly, bushy-like, kind of like so many anemones. I found a stump about as tall as my thigh and perched there to take in the whole thing.

The morning sun playfully sparkling off the sea.

Frothing white water like so many swiss rolls rolling to shore or steamed milk on a fresh cappucino.

Soft frolicking waves hitting the shore with a lulling rhythm, sedating my mind into a trance.

Ahhh.. that was heaven right there...


Of course, I still had to make the trip back. So with one last gulp, drinking it all up (not that I could ever have enough of it) I mounted my trusty steel horse and cranked it out of Sabak. I had had enough maybe to take me through another week of frenetic work life.

Over the bridge, past the bleaters, and into the coconut tree-lined track back. The journey home wasn't so hard. Maybe because the road was more familiar now. Maybe it was the water loss from sweat and my open-mouthed panting. But I'd like to think that it was because my soul was so much lighter now, like little boats on the horizon, and an inner serenity like the sea-breeze cut right through the traffic noise.

You can be sure I'm going to do this again. And again.

To the next beach down the shore or to that village upriver. Wherever the road takes me.


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