(As I was riding my bike one fall day a few years ago, my imagination was ignited by the passing scene of an old New England cemetery, lost in the woods. This one of my favorite posts, and just in time for Halloween - though the fact that so many are without power after our freak October snow/ice storm is much scarier.)
If you want to see ghosts, ride your bike in Autumn along a lonely back road. I don't believe in ghosts - at least not the kind you usually think about. But I do believe in the ghosts of the past - the hauntings of a place by the memories of the people who were there. Who were they? Did they have dreams and plans like we do today?
My friend John and I rode past this cemetery a couple years ago. It's a fairly typical example for this part of the state, where old farmland has been reclaimed by the forest just like the farmers and their families were eventually claimed by time. It's a very quiet place out in the New England countryside, made all the more eerie by the sunless sky and cold breeze.
On a bike, you're not only closer to everything physically - you smell the fallen leaves and the wood fires burning and feel the cold wind on your skin - but you get closer mentally as well. Out in the country on a bike all you hear besides the hum of your tires on the pavement are the sounds of the wind going by, the squirrels gathering their food for the winter, and the rustling of the trees.
If during your ride you stop at a spot like this and imagine, even for a few minutes, how these people lived, who they loved, what their hopes were and whether they ever achieved them, you might see some ghosts. At the very least you'll appreciate more deeply what they went through and how privileged we are today.
And if you're especially quiet, you may even hear in the sound of the leaves floating by on the breeze a whisper of thanks from those people for not letting them be forgotten.