Babar sb starts our trip to his village with the Sufi saint Saadi:
if you keep straight
then you will never lose your way.
i tell him that the way seems a bit clouded by the fog
or choked, by the smog
hard to see
sometimes even hard to breath
the doctor in his village says
health is not just the absence
my first reaction is the relief of being understood
my second is the vulnerable fear of being
Babar sb admits that even when going straight
disasters can happen:
until his 70s,
he cycled 15 KM every day with his wife Perveen
on the canal, which is a straight road
until one day, when it had just rained
he flew over a water-filled pothole
and his cycling career ended.
on the drive back from the village
staring at the tangerine-colored sun
pushing towards lahore through the smog
Babar shares a story he read many years ago
a family of cows doing what cows do
living life and producing milk,
when a cement factory was built in their back yard.
their owner sulked that their milk would decrease
suffocated by the factory smog.
but was shocked that the milk jars became fuller
that the smog dust had materials the cows could use.
sometimes we are going straight
and still hit rain-filled potholes
sometimes the path is clouded by the fog
sometimes we get choked by the smog
sometimes these things are
the end of our cycling careers
and sometimes they are
what makes us more