My cycling season began in fits and starts.
March was a dreary month, the exact opposite of the same month last year, when temperatures soared into the 80’s from the get go. Not this year. March entered and exited with a chill. I cycled just a few times. My teeth chattered.
Then came April. Then came May. I pedaled ever more often and ever farther. I’ve been quiet, but I haven’t sat still. I’ve logged some 300 miles in the past two months. It makes me happy to be out and about.
There’s nothing finer than coursing through the countryside in spring. Oh, sure, I end up swallowing a few more bugs than usual. The scent of fertilizer doesn't please me all that much either. But there’s that hum in the air. There’s that unexpected rapture when, descending into a valley filled with blossoms, I’m enthralled. There’s the aroma of tilled soil and the exuberance of livestock. There’s the sunshine and the breeze.
I’ve already been sunburned. Though my blemished, alligatored skin has been insulted several hundred times too often, I still revel in the roasting. The winter months made me hunger for the pain.
I delight in this state of things. The sentinel geese guarding their nests. Hell-bent sparrows worrying the hawks that fly too close to fledglings. I thrill to see branch morph from bud to leaf. The seed to sprout.
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I decided to ride early in the morning (though I’m not a “morning person”). The forecast indicated that the temperature and winds would soar as the day progressed. I wanted to do a “long” ride of some three-plus hours. I dressed appropriately for the conditions to come. I kinda suffered at the outset.
And through those early miles I kept mulling the last line of a Yeats’ poem: “...as cold and passionate as the dawn.”
That’s what I love about poetry. Just a few words strung together by an artist and I find myself lost in reverie.
Yeats’ words careened inside my brain pot. I was cold. I certainly was. Despite that, I was thrilled to be riding. There was a certain passion. I felt it. I welcomed the day.
“...as cold and passionate as the dawn”
That’s how it is in the seventh decade of life. I wake to pain. I wake to remembered sorrow. It’s the passion to see a new day through that gets me out of bed.
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There’s a stretch of road I frequent often. It’s a bit out-of-the-way. There are fields, and there are drainage swales. It seems to be a habitat well suited for redwing blackbirds. They marshal themselves along/atop the electric lines. They’re a feisty bunch, those redwings. I pedal past and they hurl invectives. I pedal past and I think of this:
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