The Theory of Zero

My nephew is something of a free thinker. After acing all his arithmetic tests he one day decided to answer every question with a zero. His approach saved time, he explained, and logically he was bound to be correct sooner or later.

His teacher may have been unimpressed, but I for one quite like the Theory of Zero.

For four days I’ve been cycling mean country. The highway runs dagger straight past cracked riverbeds and trees that have long since lost hope of rain. They bend to the dusty red soil, parched and splintered, waiting for the mercy of a spark.

I pedal on.

The sun seems to pulsate in a cloudless sky. It scatters every living creature save the wedge-tailed eagles that circle endlessly above. They land only to pick the bones of a kangaroo rotting on the road, shooting piercing glances when I cover my mouth.

I pedal on.

A raging headwind slows my bike to a walking pace. Beside me a wreathed cross peers from the yellow grass of the ditch. A faded teddy bear and some empty beer cans honor someone who should have worn a seat belt nine years ago.

I pedal on.

Then suddenly it all changes. I look up and find myself in an endless pasture. The highway vanishes over the horizon like a bridge in a sea of gold. A butterfly floats past, catching on its wings a sun setting in a thousand shades of orange.

The smell of cool earth fills my lungs and I’m reminded of home, of beautiful Saskatchewan.

And til tomorrow, I pedal no more.

Near Sandfire, WA

Near Sandfire, WA


8 responses to “The Theory of Zero

  1. The odd grace of your written fragments are truly inspiring. Vivid, plentiful of being-here-now and nowhere else. I pedal on too.So far from you yet so close.

  2. Hi there- glad to see you are doing well- terrific video! the last frame looks just like the prairies ( except for the red dirt- here is it just brown) The snow is finally leaving and I think spring is finally here- alittle bit late but better late than never. I was visiting with Susan and Jennifer today- were your ears burning- we were wondering how you are doing. I can’t believe it has been five months since I taked to you last- wow! Still working two days a week, getting the cottage ready for summer and off to Palm Springs tomorrow for a few days of relaxation.Take care- hope to hear from you soon. Be safe. Your favorite Sask mom, Judy

    • I’m going the wrong way, but home is where I’m headed. Looking forward to it, believe me.

  3. (I think I messed up that login so I’m posting this again, ha.)

    Glad to see you’re writing here again, Mike! I’ve always loved your writing. I enjoyed the Saskatchewan reference in your other recent post too 🙂

    • Welcome back! Always great to hear from you. How’s Regina’s newest entrepreneur doing these days?

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