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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Transference and my bicycle

A seat on the back invites a friend.
There are some things to which I am, inexplicably, drawn.  Puppies, rainbows, children -- in all their childhood splendor, sunrises and expressive skies and bicycles.  The bicycle part has me stumped.  Recently, I read a book called  When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships by David Richo.  He talks about transference.  It's not just the Freudian version of I-love-my-therapist any more.  Transference, according to Richo, is "an unconscious displacement of feelings, attitudes, expectations, perceptions, reactions,beliefs and judgements that were appropriate to former figures in our live, mostly parents,onto people in the present."  If that is true, then what does my fixation on photographing bicycles mean?  Do I have unresolved issues about learning to ride a bicycle?  I remember learning to learn. My father taught me, running alongside me, encouraging me that, "Yes, Dawn, yes, Dawn, you can do it." Then I crashed. It took me a few days to be fearless in the face of our long, macadam driveway.  From garage to the street was four times the length of our house.  At six, that seemed the same as a mile.  My father did not hold with the notion that "training wheels" were necessary. So, learning to ride my bike was akin to going solo in an airplane.   Torn pants, skinned knees and bandaids were an integral part of my life for the first few weeks. Still, there was no haunting trauma at that early age that I am essaying to resolve at this late time. For my entire childhood, well into adolescence, my bicycle granted me freedom.  Escape from, escape to.  It didn't matter which. It was freedom, pure and simple. My bicycle let me expand the boundaries imposed by age and geography.  In high school, my first love courted me using his bicycle. We rode our bicycles together, even after we had our driving licenses.  When I met my husband, we took our bicycles all over Martha's Vineyard and western Massachusetts. I couldn't keep his pace so he rode ahead, then circled back to check in.  For most of my life, my bicycle was the vehicle for my freedom and the expression of love.  
Because of health issues, I have not been able to ride my bicycle for several years now. Sometimes, I shut my eyes and try to summon the feel of the breeze on my face, the pumping of my heart as it churns  blood and the strength in my legs bearing down to turn the bike's pedals. I try to remember how it feels to achieve balance as my speed builds going down hill and the sheer determination that drives me as I mount a steep hill. Perhaps my  I have explored alternative kinds of bicycles, but I am still seek one that I can ride comfortably and safely. Perhaps my longing for a bicycle is best measured by the many bicycles that I photograph.  The photographs are simply a form of transference of my desire, deep and longing, to hop on my bicycle and enjoy the wonderful freedom of a long, afternoon ride.

With these carriers, the road becomes a friend
with limitless possibility.

The milk crate may not be aesthetically pleasing,
but it is functional.

The handlebar basket speaks of books and loaves of French bread.

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