Cape Sebastian Man

He’s bicycling up Cape Sebastian on a kid’s bike loaded up with so much gear he sometimes coasts backward.

Shaggy beard, creased face, tan to the point of darkness, he’s close to 70.

Fog enshrouds his upward ride, but once he reaches the top, sunshine.

How did he get here? He once rode a kid’s bike for fun, now he’s riding one for survival. There weren’t men in my youth riding kid bikes like this; now I see it all the time, on Highway 101, on Powell Boulevard. In Sellwood, in Elkton. Why?

I slow down to watch him pedal. Some optimistic soul music from the 70s plays on CD. Ohhhh child, things are going to get much brighter…

Are they 50 years later?

I wonder what will happen when the man makes it to the top of Cape Sebastian. The descent to the ocean is a good two miles and he could hit 40 miles an hour if the bike doesn’t tear apart. What will he think when he rounds that turn out of the trees and sees the ocean and the sun blasts his face? Will he smile? Will he think the view beautiful? Will he nod? Will he reflect? Do men like this have this luxury? He’s got miles to go before he sleeps, and has no place to sleep except off the shoulder in a hidey hole of brush.

But when he does sleep, he might hear that old sound of the ocean, the rolling sound that has rolled long before human beings and will roll long after we are gone.