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Location: Midwest, United States

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Road

Summer arrived early this year.  By that I mean summer cart-wheeled, pom-poms twirling, smack dab into winter’s rump.  Three months early.  Caught me (everyone) by surprise.  We mid-westerners rubbed our eyes in disbelief.  Gob-smacked.  Laughter and gaiety ensued.  Gawd!  She’s so magnificent.

What is one to do but saddle up and revel? 

And that is what I did.  Pulled the jersey from the hanger.  Squeezed into lycra shorts (fitting a bit more snug than I remembered), donned helmet and gloves, pumped up the tires and ventured forth on bewildered legs.

I hadn’t planned on pushing pedals in early March.  Hadn’t planned on venturing farther into the hinterlands by April’s end than I had by mid-July of last year.  I rode amazed.  Pedaled slightly daft.  Spinned my wheels through landscapes each and all waking astonished. 

Never experienced anything near like this.  Mouth agape, I swallowed way too many insects every bit as disoriented as I.  Nature had erupted in an orgy of buds and blossoms.  Almost overnight, my world morphed to fragrant green.

I was deafened by the chorus frogs/spring peepers.  Hawks dotted the skies, soaring and cavorting.  Redwing blackbirds rushed to stake their claims.   Though farm fields remained dusty brown, they hummed with anticipation.  Livestock felt it, too.  They didn’t graze complacently.  Noses raised to Heaven, they twitched their tails in glee.

It’s been surreal, this bacchanalia.  I asked more of my muscles than prudence cautioned.  I couldn’t help myself.  I knew there would be a price to pay.  But I also knew this opportunity couldn’t last.  Carpe diem.  There would be cold days still.  Soon.  Nothing this amazing can persist.  I would rest when the cool rains came.

I’ve ridden long and hard.  All in the name of Amazement.  I sport the crazy tan lines of a cyclist:  pale forehead, tanned cheeks, vanilla thighs, chocolate knees, white feet, white palms and dark fingertips.  I’ve been buffeted by gusty winds, blinded by unseasonable sweat.  All in the name of Pleasure.  I even found myself pedaling through a dense cloud of honey bees.  Bees bounced off my face and helmet, bees bounced off my arms and legs.  Bees clung to me and my front fork.  It’s been a crazy season.  Not a single sting.

I ended my last ride yesterday with a nasty crash.  I hadn’t realized how much I had exhausted my legs on the longest ride of this utterly improbable season.  Legs cramping, I failed to disengage from pedals when a car roared forward in front of me.  I fell hard to ground, right hip bearing the brunt.  Bruised and bleeding, hip screaming, I soberly rose, saddled up, pedaled slowly home.

I didn’t cry.   No need for tears.

I've been happy.

* * *


Blogger June Calender said...

To know the meaning of carpe diem is to be fully alive -- and you are, yes, with bruises to prove it outwardly but obviously the life force is pumping dynamically on the inside. Wonderful description, Jonas.

Sat Apr 28, 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Yvonne Osborne said...

Hope you're alright. We had a super warm March for sure but April has been dreadful. Where the hell do you live???? I love reading posts that use words like "bacchanalia" and "gaiety". I love it that we can still use some form of that word for its original meaning. I have some of those lycra shorts but I need a bike! And about those bees....they're just mixed up too.

Sat Apr 28, 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

This is me, smiling!

Sat Apr 28, 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like an amazing ride, except for the sudden stop at the end. A little like life I'm thinking:)

Mon Apr 30, 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Secret Agent Woman said...

Yay! Just catching up here and in spite of the crash, still a Yay!

Mon Apr 30, 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a glorious ride. Even the bump at the end doesn't seem that bad. You do make me smile!

Fri May 04, 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I apologize. I've been remiss in responding to a raft o' comments. The spill I suffered didn't do much in the way of damage except for the fact that I lost hours and hours of sleep. I simply couldn't get comfortable, so I tossed and turned for nights on end.

Well, I'm better now. The hip suffered a deep bruise and I still feel it (limp worse than usual), but the road rash no longer burns. Tonight I cracked open a bottle of wine and now I want nothing more but to bask in your friendship...

Thank you, June! Regrettably, I've let far too many days slip from my fingers. Been catching a few of them days lately, though.

I, like you, Yvonne, take delight in language. One of my favorite authors, William Manchester, is an absolute master of the English language. I kept a dictionary close whilst reading his biography of Winston Churchill. Manchester invariably chose the perfect word to convey his meaning! Kinda thrilling actually.

I live in "corn country" south of the Chicago metro area. South of Lake Michigan. The weather here is somewhat unique.

I've always had a "thing" for honey bees. Find them endearing. Hornets and wasps? Not so much.

Oh, Patti, you are SUCH a dear! Didn't surprise me none that you understood the link between this post and the previous entry. They constitute a continuum in my thought process.

The ride WAS amazing, Lilith (as have been all my rides this season). Yes, metaphors abound!

Thank you, SAW. It pleases me considerably that we cheer for each other.

Thank you, Selma! It makes me smile to know I made you smile. I consider you "good people".

Fri May 04, 07:14:00 PM  

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