10 September 2010

Riding Through Forms Of Light

Ah, Helene really is a romantic after all:

What started out as a late-afternoon/early-evening ride turned into a moonlight cruise by Sheepshead Bay.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Brooklyn (no, Park Slope and North Williamsburg don't count), Sheepshead Bay is an inlet of the sea at the southern end of the borough.  On one side of it are the eponymous neighborhood, a part of which ended up in the above photo.  On the side from which I took the photo is a neighborhood called Manhattan Beach.  The Bay itself is named after a fish that, if I recall correctly, was native only to the bay.

Anyway...the ride down there was one of the more interesting local rides I've done.   Actually, it wasn't so much a ride as it was a light show.

I took this photo looking down a side street from Lee Avenue in one of the non-hipster areas of Williamsburg.  Lee Avenue is probably about as close to a stetl as one can find in this country in 2010.

Many of the stores, like this one, don't have signs in English.  And, I happened to be pedaling down this street on the first full day of Rosh Hashanna,  just as when Hasidic families were leaving shul and walking to their homes, or those of extended family members.  

Although the sky was overcast, the light seemed, well, light.  Perhaps it had to do with the colors of those clouds:  more blue than gray.  That made them seem more like waves in the sea than bearers of storms.  

Somehow, in my imagination, I always imagine preternaturally clear Prussian blue skies of la belle epoque giving way to graying inter-war skies and, finally, to those ominous iron gray curtains of clouds that preceded the long night that settled over the old stetls.

Now, before I start to sound like a really bad cross between Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (Only in Russia after the Berlin Wall fell could he have been chosen to host a talk show!)  and Elie Weisel (whom I both like and respect as a writer and person), I'm going to get back to the topic at hand:  riding, and what and where the ride brings me.

I feel as if riding these last couple of days has been about following light (if not The Light, whatever that is) as it radiates from some unexpected sources.  As thick as the clouds have been, they did not seem heavy and have never threatened rain.  And they have allowed at least a reflection of the hour's light

Or, more precisely, where the light has led me:

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