The nature trail is six feet wide and seven miles long. It slithers through the forest like a 1.snake curving, and bending
along the banks of the river. The county cleared this 2.path and paved
it with packed gravel, so 3.they
would have a peaceful place to hike and bike.
I ride this trail nearly every 4.day—not on a bike,
but on “Luigi.” That’s the nickname I gave my motorized wheelchair. 5
Today, Luigi’s battery is fully 6.charged,
I know I can go all the way to the end of the trail and back. But I always carry a cell phone on me just in case.
Luigi’s motor 7.moves slowly
as we venture along the trail. I can hear the gravel quietly crunching beneath Luigi’s rubber wheels. 8.I hear
the songs of cardinals in the trees and the clamor of crickets in the grasses. I hear the murmur of water slipping over time-smoothed rocks. 9. t is
September, and some of the trees are starting to blush red and orange at their tips. The wind ruffles my hair and chills my face as I bounce 10. gently, along
in my paddedchair. 11. Bicyclists streak past
in a blur of color and a cloud of 12. dust
I don’t understand their hurry. Luigi can go fast, but I like to ride slowly, to see like a hovering dragonfly. I want to see everything that has changed, grown, bloomed, or died since yesterday. Today I notice that a spider has woven a web between some honeysuckle bushes by the bridge. I see that the bank of vibrant yellow black-eyed Susans by the barbed wire fence is starting to dry and fade away. I spend an 13 hour; looking
and listening and learning.
And now my ride is finished for today. I leave the trail and come out into the open, manicured park at the 14. trails
end. There, my older brother helps me out of my chair and into his waiting van. He puts Luigi in the back, and I return to the world of pavement, streetlights, and traffic. But in my mind, I am still gliding through the forest. I am like the water, flowing over ancient stones. Inside, I am still a dragonfly.