Disappearing acts…March 18, 2010
Auriane learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this winter. Her favorite biking path is down the driveway between the house and the caveau directly at a wall, at top speed. A blue and pink princess helmet eliminated a touch of my fear. That is, when it can be found. Such is the case in the country, bike riding is part of a whole day of adventures. When the majority of your day is spent outside exploring, one moment you’re on a bike, the next you’re digging in the dirt, the next you’re climbing a tree, then back on the bike – the helmet comes off at some point during the exploring and is forgotten for the next bike ride. Apart from the vision of her crashing head first into the wall, is that she hasn’t figured out how to use the breaks. Her feet/shoes are the breaks. As she nears this wall, feet come off the pedals and drag through the gravel and grass until she stops.
Recently, she and Olivia have taken to greater adventures; riding their bikes on ‘long haul’ journey’s beyond permitted bounds, ie: outside the courtyard. These journey’s involve packing a backpack with necessities such as flip-flops, water, chalk, utensils and other kitchen items, lipstick swiped from my purse, and whatever else they deem necessary on any give adventure. The problem is, the journey’s have turned into disappearing acts.
Yesterday Raphael was helping me with lunch so that I could have a much needed rest. As I drifted off to sleep, I heard Raphael call ‘a table.’ Moments later I heard it again. Then I heard him call out their names from two different locations. My dream laden mind perked up to the events going on outside my window. Soon after, I heard the door bang open down in my in-laws house and another call for Olivia. Once more I heard him call out her name, this time from the direction of the cave. I was fully awake by this point and listening attentively. The winery door slammed shut and I heard the crunch of tires on the gravel parking lot as Raphael rushed out in his truck. At this I jumped out of bed my fatigue replaced by anxious adrenaline. I ran to the window and looked out just as Raphael pulled back in with both Olivia and Auriane in his truck. They had taken their bikes out to the main road on an adventure. Every adult in the house started in on them as they cowered against the wall like trapped mice.
When our fear subsided, we explained he problem with them riding their bikes on this road. It is the width of a single car, although it is a two-way road which winds and the curves have limited view. It’s travelled mostly by locals but the problem with this is that the locals are so used to the curves that they tend to drive too fast, Raphael included. I can understand the appeal, however. While we have sufficient space to ride a bike in our courtyard, it consists mostly of bumpy stone terraces, gravel and grass. We’ve explained to the girls that while this nicely paved road is easier to navigate, (Imagine the speed the must get going down the slight slopes. My heart shutters.) it is very dangerous because the cars can’t see them and they drive too fast. Then we reminded them that they can’t leave home without asking us. I don’t think they got it. Our property boarders both sides of the majority of the road. To the girls, they are home.
After sending to their room, I reminded Raphael of something he once told me. At the same age of Auriane, he once spent an entire afternoon hiding in his room, ignoring the calls from his parents. When they went to search for him in his room, he hid behind the door. As the search made its way outside, he remained quiet, listening to their calls and only becoming scared when he no longer heard anything. The search had extended beyond the house. This lasted for three or four hours until they returned home to find him waiting for them. His behind was quite sore for the next few days. I wanted him to realize that, while dangerous and not permitted, the girls little adventure was nothing unusual.