Though you sit on my head like a wonky walnut shell, tilted always at an unfashionably rakish angle, though you wobble, bobble, and bang against the granite, when I pull myself up beneath a roof, I have not given you, dear helmet, the credit you deserve.
Today, helmet, we became more than just friends. Today you showed me just what you are made of: very hard plastic, and for that I am forever in your debt. Yes, it’s true that yesterday I likened you to wearing a greenhouse on my head for all the condensation (okay, it was sweat) dripping down my brow. But I take it all back, helmet! Sweat in my eyes is more than a fair trade for a fully-intact skull. Yes, I have clipped you to my harness, carelessly banging your once-bright surface along the rocks and tree trunks of many a descent trail. And, I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t even invite you to Greece for a holiday. It was wrong of me, helmet. To so carelessly scratch your powder-blue exterior. To curse your poorly-designed chin strap. To doubt your ability to remain on my head if I’d been moving any direction but up.
Okay, enough with the ode. I think the helmet gets the point. I originally intended to write in the style of one of my favorite Romantic poets, Mr. John Keats. Keats has a real way with the ode. Take his “Ode to Autumn” for example, in which he exalts the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!/ Close-bosom friend of the maturing sun;” How charming! Autumn is fruitful–it is harvest season–but not aggressively so, like summer’s relentless abundance, and Keats is attentive enough to note this. And how inviting, as if the mature sun is bringing everyone to its bosom, rather like my grandmother at Thanksgiving. Perhaps I could write to my helmet:
Dome of plastic and July afternoons!
Your snug-fitting strap caresses my chin;
Enveloping my head, a full blue moon
lights midday sky and lets no danger in.
But iambic pentameter is perhaps too formal for my helmet. Mainly, I want it to know that even though I sometimes act as if it is a burden, I am grateful for its companionship, and, today, it’s protection. It was not unlike that scene in The Bodyguard where Kevin Costner’s character jumps between a bullet and his client/true love played by (I know I don’t have to tell you this) Whitney Houston back when she was very glamourous and capable of cranking out a killer movie soundtrack all on her own. But it wasn’t a bullet; it was a rock, a rather large rock that was quickly approaching my head as it–my head–made its way to the ground. And you’ll be happy to know that my helmet has survived to tell about it. Though it isn’t talking much right now. It’s had a long day.