…but that doesn’t mean I’m prepared.
The old steel truss bridge has been closed to auto traffic for over 2 years. That means a fair distance on either end of this place has seen virtually zero traffic. I’ve pedaled down here to avoid the cold wind, and brewed coffee in the middle of a gravel road. Now the old steel truss bridge is gone, and so is one micro-tour destination
By the looks of the current construction site, it won’t be long. I see the signs of my habits changing. But I will not be ready.
Well, it was a nice warm afternoon. I suppose we’ll be seeing them a little more frequently now. We should pay attention to what is going on. We should observe the transition. We should see opportunity before it slips away.
It was an opportunity for shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals with no socks. It was an afternoon for slow noodling around…because going any faster means reaching the corner sooner and turning away from the warmth of the sun. It was an opportunity to climb back in the saddle after numerous insurmountable obstacles.
It was an opportunity to look down the road to destinations, to S24Os, and to rides with friends before the hottest part of summer begins. It’s just down the road. Can you see it?
While riding home from work in shorts and a single cotton shirt, I was having a hard time reconciling the messages. My eyes, the warm sunshine, and the southern breeze were signaling the beginning of spring.
But the weather forecast predicted snow (yes, in Texas) within less than 24 hours.
When the flames were gone and only a dim orange glow remained, my visitor left. The quiet and the stars were notable. A chill chased me to my bag. Comfort carried me to dreamland.
The view out my window was just a great as the evening version. It welcomed me into morning rituals.
First, a short walk along the shore.
Then, a longer walk through nearby trails.
After waking the appetite, it was time for breakfast.
The cares of yesterday, less than 24 hours ago, seem quite distant. I feel fortunate instead of burdened, energized instead of burned-out, and optimistic instead of fatalistic.
I ponder why people don’t do this more often…
…and I’ve got no answer for you, …
…says the chap who rides with A. Homer Hilsen.
It wasn’t convenient. The time it’s needed most is when it’s most inconvenient. The cluster of appointments on my calendar, the number of obligations not yet completed, and the spring-time to-do list growing like a weed weighed heavy. Feeling overwhelmed, getting to it all didn’t seem doable. A quick weather forecast check revealed excellent conditions, but squeezing in an S24O definitely didn’t seem doable.
Brain energy was diverted into trying to creatively juggle it all. My heart agonized over the commitments and all the things left undone. When the “absolutely must be done today” items seemed impossible, it was obvious that I was surrounded. So I surrendered. Maybe that is when it became apparent that stepping off the world for a little while wouldn’t really make things worse. It might help.
So in the late afternoon, my non-ultralight bicycle touring gear and I arrived at my favorite overnight spot. After a few simple house-keeping chores, there wasn’t much to do except listen to the wind die down and watch the sun paint pastels on an armada of clouds sailing by.
The sunset was fine, but the view from my room was not too bad either.
Neighbors were anticipated, but none arrived. I was the only one in on a secret.
After the fire was started, and darkness closed-in, a friend of mine came by to visit. We stared at the fire, brought up hard questions in conversation, and didn’t bother trying to answer them.
We were content to watch the flames, toss in sticks, and warm our hands while our faces glowed.
(to be continued)
The patches of green, and the occasional budding tree limbs, are the appetizer for spring perfection. The main course is on its way. Mid-winter excursion fantasies must now give way to implementation. It will not be long before summer heat makes sleeping outdoors a challenge.
NOW is the time for the early season S24O. Don’t miss it.
Unlike some of my more urban-located and sophisticated cycling friends (Doohickie, Rat Trap Press, and DFW Point-to-Point), I don’t have ready access to a local coffee shop. I enjoy reading their accounts of rides through the city, including refreshment stops at those fancy gathering places. Sadly, my own experiences fall short in comparison.
They enjoy the comforts of furniture and the stimulating hustle and bustle of other friendly patrons. I am required to sit in solitude under a pecan tree on a small patch of blanket that I must pack and bring with me.
At those urban coffee shops, visitors have a mind expanding array of product and accessory options. I suppose one could order his coffee ten thousand different ways. He can doctor up his coffee with all sorts creams, sprinkles, and sweeteners so as to make it taste less like coffee, and more like dessert. I just have my thermos with only one choice, and I had to brew it myself. It’s coffee that’s black, and just tastes like coffee.
They have those paper cups with plastic lids, and those clever cardboard insulator thingies. I am required to pack my own coffee cup with the low-tech little handle on the side. I am a little embarrassed to say that my cup doesn’t have the status boosting brand name logo on it. Instead, it just has a subtle floral pattern. Not very manly.
Once my friends are handed their cup, leave their tips, dust someone else’s scone crumbs off the chair and sit down, they enjoy trendy, energetic, high-volume music, discussions of current events, and cell phone conversations of other patrons. I don’t have entertainment. I only have the sound of a southern breeze and bird song. I’m not certain about those bird lyrics lately, but they sound vaguely like, “spring is coming.”
Finally, my coffee stop is not down the street and around the corner. I must pedal along on desolate roads, some of them gravel, for two hours to find it. After a series of hill crests and creek crossings, a serviceable spot appears. By then, a short stop, even my humble spot, is something I can live with.
It is so very hard to be me.