Fat Bottomed Girls

Well – one of the girls is me and the other one is Dad, who isn’t a girl. Obviously. And my bottom itself isn’t fat, but am wearing the new internally-padded cycling shorts.
It’s our first cycling ride for, oh, ages. Weeks. Since before the infection anyway, which spread to my right arm, making it useless. Now the strength and mobility seem to have returned enough to hold my handlebars and brake and turn.
“Let’s take this short cut,” Dad yells from a few metres behind me. He’s much a faster cyclist than I am but he likes me to go first so he can keep an eye on me.
Wobbling a bit, I turn off the road and we bump along the gravel path by the stream. Despite living round here for 34 years, we’ve only cycled down this track a couple of times. There are dead skeleton trees, marbled white and brown; huge fungi; blackbirds. Dragonflies buzz as they zoom past, flashes of metallic blue: their wings whirring in that wonderful complicated movement.
And then we’re by the pond and as we whizz round it on the tarmac I see the parent swans and all three cygnets, now almost adult. As large as their parents now, their grey fluffy feathers make them appear even bigger.
“Look, Dad,” I say, stopping, resting my bike on the railings. There’s a tiny mallard duckling: brown and gold and so fluffy, not much bigger than a golf ball. It’s mid-September, surely very late for another brood. And he’s the only one – no siblings in sight.
As we cycle the long, long way back home, the padded shorts not helping much with the bum pain, I think about how I’ve lived here almost all my life and yet there are still new places, new animals to be discovered. I’ve been toying with the idea of a Bucket List – whilst I’m still well enough to enjoy some once-in-a-lifetime-experiences. Admittedly, probably not experiences that take place Abroad.
There are people, and I’ve dated a fair few of them, who bang on and on about how they love to travel and how it broadens the mind. Every five minutes they’re going off to tramp around Thailand and stay in a monastery or climb Everest or white water raft down the Amazon. And it’s cruel to point it out, but they do tend to be the dullest people with the smallest minds. Finding yourself is all very well, if there’s something to find. But chances are, the best thing to find is the secret path you never knew existed in the park you’ve been visiting for 34 years.

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3 thoughts on “Fat Bottomed Girls

  1. So eloquently said. We often lose sight of lifes most valuable experiences by getting caught up with what we think they should be rather than what they are for us individually. And they often do exist in our very own backyard. There is much to be said for being still enough to actually find yourself as opposed to running away and never really having to face knowing who you are.

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