I went to the cemetery today. Not because I wanted to mourn anyone, but because there was concrete I could cycle on. I had planned to go to a nearby place called Sharp Hill, but the rain rendered the terrain impossible.
When I left, on my bike it was barely raining, and I wore my anorak anyway just in case. I bought this anorak, and then was disappointed because it did not appear waterproof, the material was not synthetic enough. I told this to my dad and he said “oh no, don’t be fooled son, it is waterproof!”
Today I found out, definitively, that it is not. I was cycling around these luxury West Bridgford estates with the Teslas on their drives, thinking it’s raining and I don’t regret coming out one bit, in fact, it’s tremendous. Please rain come, barrage me, I am impervious. You try and make my day as miserable as possible, see if I care. I found a pathway with a jitty at the end, which led to the nearby wood. I sat on my saddle, admiring the flitting tits in the hedgerows, while a stream of brown water flowed down at my feet.
An elderly lady, drenched, head concealed by a hood, scurried down the hill toward her home, her wellies half-in the sloshy earth. I realised I wouldn’t be cycling up there on two wheels today. I proceeded round the fancy estate, and out towards the main road. There is a graveyard on a hill as you enter the borough, which boasts excellent views. As a jonny who particularly delights in observing cities from a decent vantage point, I cycled all the way past the graves and the perfect Lego fir trees, and to the top of the hill where the church sat. I don’t know why, but as I peered up at the tower, I had a vivid image of a Monk, concealed by long black robes appearing briefly in the steeple window, and then disappearing.
The city below was enveloped in silver mist, which in an instant, seemed to make way and reveal the patina roof tops, floodlights, skyscrapers, and smoking towers of Nottingham.
I cycled past a graveyard patch decorated with teddy bears in perspex boxes, sports paraphernalia, and it took me a while to realise it was an area designated for deceased infants. By a memorial, there was a pile of raindrenched toys, including an England football, and I felt deeply saddened to imagine the parent who had so hoped their child would celebrate the things that are truly important in their lives with them, and was unable to do so. As I walked away, I saw a glittery plastic windmill on a stick spinning fiercely in the wind.
The cruel Feburary wind blowing my wet hair as I flew along, I saw a lady sauntering along the pavement. I smiled at her, as I pointed at a flashing yellow bird piercing through the sky from naked tree to naked tree. She smiled back, and as she reached a puddle she put her feet in and started to wash her shoes.
The bird was a European Woodpecker, and I went to follow it but it evaded me as they often do. It is always a pleasure to see one, shy, solitary, and lurid. This time I was not close enough to see its mad eye that gives it its wild woodpecking character.
There was a wood on the other side of the fence, the rain pouring down on the ivy-coated trees. I thought about rain, and how we humans have an aversion to it. I watched the trees, and thought the trees are loving this. THIS is exactly what they want right now. If they could move, they would be dancing.
I saw the same lady again, only now she had found a different, presumably more suitable puddle to wash her shoes in. An old man too, in the distance, carried a bouquet of flowers like it was made of lead.
It feels bizarre, being in a cemetery and not mourning , blissfully unable to understand the sorrows of others as they stare at the headstones, the rain pouring down on them as they remember.