The full story – Part 2

by Steve Brock on September 20, 2013

So there we are in Frankfurt, Germany. Walking along the Main River on this lovely promenade, taking in the plane trees and being thankful to find such beauty where we didn’t expect it.

And then the man rides past me on his bicycle.

Plane Trees and Bike - FrankfurtBetween the spot where you see him in the photo and where he passed me, he does something very odd.

Repeatedly.

He rides the bike constantly looking behind him. At first, I think he is looking at me, not pleased that I am taking his picture. But he never quite turns fully in my direction as I stand in the middle of the pathway. Instead, if the end of the path is twelve o’clock, he keeps looking at about 7:30. I turn as well to see what he might be peering at, but I can’t see anything other than the surrounding park.

Remember the bicycling adage, “Where you stare is where you steer?” That doesn’t apply here in the sense that he steers completely opposite his initial direction. But this constant turning does cause him to swerve and meander all over the path like a drunk walking in the wind.

He seems to be doing a loose slalom, following an invisible oversized DNA helix along the path, looking forward, looking back, swerving. Finally, when he reaches the end of this section of treed archway, he veers to the right and is gone. “Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Swerve,” I think.

Trips are filled with incomplete moments. We experience people and situations that pique our interest but leave us unfulfilled because we leave them too soon. The norm tends to be coming home with partial stories and a lot of curiosity that never gets resolved.

But sometimes, we are blessed to get to see more. Obtain a fuller picture. Witness the end of the story.

My family and I stroll quite a ways along the promenade before deciding it is time to head away from the river. We want to observe the downtown corridor and search out the old part of town. As we turn toward the stairs leading up the embankment, a voice catches my attention.

I don’t recognize the words, but I do their owner: the bicyclist. Our paths have again crossed. This time, his swerves and rearward glances are more controlled. In fact, as he passes to our side, he doesn’t even turn around. He pedals, seemingly talking to himself.

But he’s not.

As he shoots around a corner, I now see both the recipient of his words and the reason for his previous turning.

Running about a dozen feet behind the bicycle is a little gray and white dog.

Dog and Bike - FrankfurtI barely got my camera up in time to snap the picture to the right. But even this quick shot captures the resolution of my earlier mystery. 

This isn’t a big moment on this trip. I would chalk it up as one of those “Oh, I get it now” experiences. But sometimes what sticks with us aren’t the big moments. What becomes meaningful are little gray and white dogs and meandering bikes. It’s the combination of factors, known and unknown, that fill in a fuller story.

Even this revelation, however, the sighting of the little gray and white dog, isn’t the full story that day. For that, you’ll have to wait.

Sort of like I did when I first saw the man on the bike…

To be continued…

Read Part 1 here if you haven’t already

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