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Location: Midwest, United States

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Random Observations

The weather this weekend veritably snarled. I shivered along with the freeze warnings. Slanting rain beat incessantly on glass. Prodigious numbers of brittle leaves came to huddle in gutters. I flipped the thermostat to “HEAT” and inhaled the scent of crisp-fried dust for the first time in a long time (a solemn, once-a-year event that elicits myriad feelings).

But today was an “Indian Summer” kinda day. I was grateful for another opportunity to pedal into the hinterlands.

My jaunts last 3+ hours nowadays. The odometer routinely ticks past 30 miles whenever I venture forth. Verily, I derive great satisfaction from the salt caked on my helmet straps. I glory in the road mung coating my frame and wheels. I derive sweet, tired satisfaction each time I arrive home, jersey and limbs coated with loam. I’m nowhere near as fit as I was once, but far stronger than I was mere months ago.

And it kills me, absolutely slays me, that my roaming days are shrinking, rapidly disappearing.

* * *

I spent this evening ordering sundry “cold weather” cycling duds. I found little joy in that, but it was a decided improvement over the horror experienced this morning when I tried to squeeze myself into an insulated cycling jacket I last wore some 25 years ago. Sure, it’s sad when one discovers that one’s avoirdupois precludes full closure of a critical zipper. It’s a whole ‘nother matter when one discovers that some four inches of dermal terrain must be traversed before even the possibility of zipper closure can be remotely considered. Yes, I faced down 'death via mortification' this morning...but...I’m scarred.

* * *

I realize my cycling days are numbered.

I had forgotten how deeply prairie life resonates within me. It’s been coming back in a rush. And, yes, it’s a good thing to immerse one’s self in Life again. To breathe deep. To feel. To observe:

That fields of grizzled corn stalks produce an eerie sound...dry souls shivering.

The hawk equivalent of a juiced-up pro-football linebacker. This red-tailed raptor positively dwarfed his kin. The phrase: “the Dude abides” sprang to mind.

A flock of gypsy bald eagles (a rowdy bunch too immature to sport the telltale “bald”) pilfering carrion.

The well-aged carcass of a coyote. Coyotes abound in these fields and forest of mine. Yet rarely does one encounter them as road kill. In stark contrast, opossum and raccoons seemingly harbor a death wish. (I suppose I should note I’ve not yet seen a single pheasant. They were plentiful thirty years ago).

That chickens on the run appear somewhat idiotic, but, hey, maybe that’s just me. I don’t find goose “take-offs” with their sashaying running starts all that dignified either.

The intrepid woolly caterpillar inching its way across a two-lane country road. How can one not admire such a death-defying feat? (My most memorable “unplanned dismount” resulted from an unexpected “caterpillar encounter”).

“Road rash” sucks.

* * *

I’m gonna try to squeeze in as many rides as possible before lycra surrenders to chill. Then I’m gonna do a road trip ‘cuz I got places to visit and people to hug.

And then?

I’ll spend the winter being a gym rat (well, that's the plan, anyway).

* * *

I’m kinda loving being an animal again...(now, if only I could find my drumsticks...)

* * *


Blogger June Calender said...

Wonderful post! Beginning with "crisp fried dust" a scene I recognized a few days ago also. You expessed so much that has parallels to the sadness I've been feeling to think my morning beach walks will more often be curtailed by rainy weather as they have been so far this week. Lovely picture too and descriptions of riding through that scenery. Can't say enough about all that delights me in your words.

Thu Oct 07, 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound content, happy even. I'm smiling and I'm glad.

Sending a hug.

Thu Oct 07, 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

Jonas, I find myself teary reading this, feeling alongside you the passing of time and opportunity, yet holding tight to the sun as it sets. On the other hand I am so ready for it all to be over. I cannot even reconcile that within myself. The will to live, the will to die. What I like least is the fractions of movement that are taken from us as we age I suppose. If the indecencies of old age were to hit us all at once on our 75th birthday, we'd probably all down the black pill. But it's sneaky, and the flame under the pot where the frog happily floats. One day we're just boiled. I'm not helping am I??? Sorry. Let me try again. I love your zest for life, your road trips and all you try to squeeze from it. Wishing you many long and happy more. See you in the gym...Bonamassa on the iPod.

Thu Oct 07, 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...


I've been waiting for a post where you've embraced the joys of existing once again! You should be here... we are hitting a high of 26C/79F today. I was walking the dog at the off leash park yesterday and almost got run over by a cyclist traversing the path along the top of the hill.

Keep going as long as you can. You're on a roll (literally) and it is so obviously good for your (body and) soul that I hope the cold weather gear extends your rides.

Seriously? You've wiped out because of a caterpillar? How did you even see the thing? I know they say to keep your eyes on the road, but... ;-)

Fri Oct 08, 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is wonderful.It's the kind of thing I imagine when I think of going 'on the road' in the US. How amazing to have experienced it at all.

Sat Oct 09, 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

It's hard to beat moving along to keep one satisfied...

I'm lucky to do ten mile rides around these parts, as we are an up and down neighborhood where riding and walking can be on an equal footing as per speed...

Did I mention we've got bears?

Sat Oct 09, 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger anna said...

Oh please come give me a hug! Please?!

Tue Oct 12, 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Awwwww, June! You're too kind!

I am content, Lilith. And hugs are ALWAYS welcome and appreciated!

Oh, Annie, you've been through so much, it's no wonder that tears cascade so freely. Still...Joy abounds (if only via headphones).

Yes, Ponita, a caterpillar did me in (gawd, those woolly buggers are radiant in sunlight!). Yeppers, caterpillar spied mere inches in front of wheel. Execute frantic evasive maneuver. Wheel careens from asphalt to soft sand and gravel several inches below. Add in angular momentum and a big dollop o' gravity and voilà! Geezer kisses earth.

I dunno, Selma. Methinks traversing the Australian countryside would be just as (if not more) satisfying. Then again, our entire planet is beautiful.

Yeah, Scott, I saw the pics of your new ride. Those tires/wheels are industrial strength. I doubt I'd survive an hour on your mountain terrain. But, hey, I love the rolling hills in these here parts. I leave the mountains to those made of sterner stuff.

Oh, Anna! Hugs would be sweet, but my plans only take me to Toronto, then back to the East Coast to visit family and friends. I DO HOPE to visit my birthplace again (Montreal) but it won't be this trip. I HOPE there'll be many more trips in my future. Don't want to pass on any hugs. They've grown so much more important over the years.

Thu Oct 14, 10:41:00 PM  

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