Skateboard Heaven

Skateboard Heaven

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Skateboard Heaven

 

      I come around the corner, and a smile comes across my face.  I love

it when there isn't a crowd.  Only two other people braved the chill, and

had the will, to get up this early.  Upon arrival, my view is enhanced.

Though I've seen it enough to burn an image into my subconscious, each

visit brings new wonder.  I climb onto the lower platform, and quickly

scale the small wall to the upper.  I nod at the other already standing

there.

 

      I've seen him before, but I don't need to know his name.  A silent

friendship binds us that rarely needs words.  An occasional cheer or wince

says more than the daily chat most are forced to endure.  The sound of the

second person rolls softly in my ears. His image creeps into the corner of

my eye while I inspect my shoes.  I scrub the soles back and forth on the

pavement, out of habit, to insure a dry surface.  I don't bother to watch

him.  I can hear him rolling smoothly down low.  His slow, relaxed warm up

run tells me he probably arrived short time ago.  He makes his way up the

back wall and his wheels go silent.  The other one puts his foot on his

tail and effortlessly rolls his truck over the coping.  I watch him quickly

drop away and coast to the hip.  He glides past it, and I start to notice

the entire view before me as he blends into a larger picture.

 

      I see grey.  Every shade of grey, in all its variety blends and

curves from the lightest near whites, to a deepness rivaling black. The

darkness overhead  drones with the sound of a thousand automobile tires

humming on the top of the bridge.  Though designed for another purpose, it

serves well as protection from the rain and weather.  The sun and light, as

well as the wind, come from the sides.  The wind blows softly this morn,

yet it nips at  exposed skin.  I know I will soon appreciate its soothing

aspects as I warm up, so I try not to be bitter about it chilling my

already cool body.

 

      I hear the familiar pop of an ollie and my eyes automatically track

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its source.  I turn in time to see him land on the transition.  He landed

the maneuver perfectly on the six foot ramp across from me.  I whistle

softly in appreciation.  I follow his course and become interested in his

choice of direction.  He obviously knows the park well, and uses the

knowledge to his advantage.  So many others fall into the trap of using

only a select few of the ramps, but he goes off the beaten path, and rides

a side bowl and over the small spine in the corner.  He conquers most the

obstacles with a fluid speed that belies the difficulty of his task.  He

goes in directions I don't expect, and it turns my mind toward thoughts of

where I might ride soon enough.

 

      The choices are nearly endless.  Though only a couple hundred feet

squared, not a large area, it is chock full of concrete delights.

Formations of liquid rock, hardened into a myriad of varying surfaces that

angle, bend, curve, and spill into the floor, from towering heights, to

enormous pits.  A vast array of shapes masterfully crafted to blend

beautifully into an ever flowing form.

 

      I scan over the park, ahead lies the upper bowl.  A square pit

elevated by transitional walls that make a six foot hip where they

intersect at a right angle.  The bowl sits next to, and is attached to, the

back wall.   It goes up twenty feet, and is rideable to the top.  From

there, I can choose to go left or right into the side bowls and banks, or

turn and come back to my starting location of an eight foot transition that

bends at a right angle and makes a pocket.  Between here and there is an

endless assortment of smaller terrain to make it different each time.  I

begin to devise a route, yet I know I will soon stray.

 

      I cannot ride this place like a machine, for it was never planned

or mapped out like a structure, but slowly created over time, shape by

shape.  It evolved from nothing to a living form that has its own energy.

My course must change as I ride, because I do not work the terrain, but

rather follow the energy of this concrete beast living under the Burnside

bridge.  Started as a project by a few who were dedicated, it has become

much more than its name implies.  My ears lose the roll of the other

skaters wheels as  he  stops across the way.  I put my foot on the tail of

my skateboard, and effortlessly roll my truck over the coping.
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