Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Strangely Quiet Ride

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Double beauty of mirrored trees
River stained with rosy sunset
Cow against an evening sky

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Sunshine and 50┬║. I'm setting out rather late this afternoon, but hey, it's Sunday - not a day for rushing. (Crocheting and reading and relaxing are important too.) Today I have a hankering to see a river, and ride beside some open water, so I'm heading for the nearest spot I know of that will satisfy this urge.

A strange hush has fallen over the countryside. No song of bird, no rustle of small creatures in the undergrowth - just the chilly west wind whistling past my helmet. A few miles into the ride, I see two figures in blaze orange crossing a field, and then I remember - it's gun season for deer, which explains the pervading silence. The wild animals know when hunting season starts, and they lie low until the shooting stops.

The first shot I hear today, however, is made by my own camera:


Several miles later, a new (old) barn gets added to my list of favourites:


I've passed this barn before, but I don't remember it being so attractive - perhaps it was hidden by foliage the last time around.

Turning onto an unfamiliar road, I see a tiny graveyard behind a vine-wrapped fence. Iris is parked against the gate, and I walk in to explore.

The first thing I notice is a very large marker almost obscured by brush:



Though the marker is comparatively new, one of the people memorialised on it died in 1803. Who put up this large stone, and when? Why is the grave so unkempt? In spring and summer, when the bushes are leafy, it must be nearly invisible.

I'm rather fond of country graveyards - probably because we didn't have any in Southern California. Cemeteries there are all dreadfully tidy and manicured and unreal, carefully walled off from the rest of life. Out here in the rural areas, there's something homely and almost friendly about a little neighbourhood cemetery with its scattering of mismatched stones.


I like the detail on this one:


Some of the markers are so old as to be unreadable, with carvings worn almost smooth. I wonder if anyone still remembers who lies here, or if the occupants' names have been completely forgotten.


A rather melancholy train of thought - but appropriate to the time and place. Graveyards and autumn seem to go together - and the quiet here is somehow akin to the silence that lies over all the land today.

The sun is dropping rapidly into the west, and I'm still miles away from the water. Glorious swirls of cloud ahead make me wonder if we'll have a spectacular sunset. (I hope so.)


Finally, several miles later, I reach the river. It's placid today, flowing silently down between banks of buff-coloured grass.


Iris gets parked precariously, with her rear wheel hanging out over the water, just long enough for a photo - then I haul her to safety on the flat bank while I take the rest of my shots.


Trees lean over the river and admire their wavery reflections:


The sinking sun is beginning to stain the water with rosy pink:


Across the road, in a deer stand, a hunter sits patiently still. (He's the tiny dot of orange in the center of the photo.) It's damp here along the river, and I'm chilly in my tights and jacket, despite having spent the last hour cycling. How does he stay warm?


To my right, the moon is rising over lovely bare branches:


A few evenings ago, she was so frail as to be nearly invisible. Now she's gaining strength with her size and getting a little bolder and brighter each night.

More bare branches, with contrails between:


Dear me - it's later than I realized. Time to hop on the bike and make tracks for home. No more photo stops - whatever I shoot now will have to be taken on the fly.

Lovely bones of trees with evening sky behind:


And one last shot of a cow heading out to pasture, against the soft grey remains of what turned out to be a very quiet sunset after all:


Dark is falling rather more rapidly than I thought it would - I haven't left myself enough time to get home safely. I keep riding as long as I can, but about five miles from home I'm forced to call Mr. M and ask him to pick me up. How nice to have a personal sag wagon!

The deer are on the move again now that night has fallen. We drive home slowly, towards warmth and lamplight and drawn curtains and dinner. A good ride and a good evening.

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24 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting ride. My favourite photo is the last one. Glad Mr M was able to deliver you home safely. I keep a couple of lights in my rack pack, though last time I tried to use them the batteries had run out in the rear light so I'm not as prepared as I should be!

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    1. Thanks, Anne - I ought to get a light but since I almost never ride in the dark I haven't bothered. It was my own fault yesterday, for leaving so late. :)

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  2. I felt like I was there too... i love the pictures you take, how you describe them... i like all those tombstones, we don't have cemeteries here, at least, i haven't seen...the reflections of the trees in the wtare are jst amazing nd so calm, when the darkness starts falling...
    have more of such nice rides and have a great day ahead! Anna

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  3. What a lovely ride. The barn is especially good this time. And that little graveyard is lovely, just how I feel they should be. Juliex

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    1. Thanks, Julie - I do like that barn very much. The stone foundation and the little peak of the roof make it very attractive, I think. :)

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  4. I love that barn and the sun going down in a streaky blue sky. Nice to see "Iris" though 'she' has a boy's bar in front of the saddle! I like the colour of the frame and the lilac handlebars with the bright pink water bottle!
    Sounds like you had a gorgeous outing!

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    1. Oh, Iris is a girl alright - she's got a top tube because she's a road bike. :)

      Thanks, Sandra!

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  5. Great photos, loved the one of the tree's reflection. I love a wander through old cemetaries too and you're definitely right about the California ones.

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    1. The reflections were so lovely on that still water. Thanks, Janet! :)

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  6. OH! Great shadow shot this time! :) I love the one of the cow in silhouette too. Cemeteries are lovely peaceful places. How sad, though, that likely no one remembers who lies in those. I bet if I ever got out of this enclosure I'd likely get a ride home too. Although I probably wouldn't get to see near as many things as you did. :)

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    1. You'll have to make a break for it sometime and see what happens. But don't forget to bring your cell phone so you can call for that ride home!

      I had two good shadow shots today - it was a real tossup to pick one to post. "What would Marigold like?" I kept asking myself. :)

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  7. I hope you made all kinds of sounds so the deer stayed away, so scary they are hunting so close to the road. Frankly so scary people still hunt. I love graveyards, too. Nice old ones just like you showed us.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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    1. Well, my bike isn't very noisy, but I rustled through a lot of leaves while taking those river shots - and I did wonder if the hunter would mind me making so much noise!

      Deer hunting doesn't bother me that much, because people around here actually eat what they shoot. (And venison is pretty tasty.) Trophy hunting does bother me though, also some bear "hunting" - the kind that involves dumping a hundred pounds of stale doughnuts on the ground, climbing a tree, and waiting for the bear to show up and be shot at close range. Seems like cheating.

      Sorry for the rant! Thanks so much for your comment, Meredith. :)

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  8. Oh Sue, this is stunning. You have captured with this bike ride so many of the aesthetic reasons for which I love late Autumn and Winter.

    Just look at that sky.

    Stephanie

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    1. The sky was gorgeous, wasn't it? Thank you, Stephanie. :)

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  9. Oh, how I enjoy riding pillion with you! I love the way you notice things and the pictures you take....thank you so much!!
    I'm glad, also that you know when enough is enough and are clever enough to call for back up. What a man Mr Macawber is....ready to get on his fiery challenger and pick you up...or I remember the puncture too! Thanks Mr Macawber!
    Joan

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    1. Thank you, Joan - and yes, he's a pretty handy guy in a pinch. :)

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  10. That is one of the most beautiful barns I have ever seen!! Does anyone live in it, I wonder? Can you peek inside next time? :)

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    1. I think it's still a functional barn - not for human habitation. But wouldn't that be fun? I've often daydreamed of a converted barn house. :)

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  11. Darkness does come so rapidly this time of year. I love the shot of the sliver of moon above the starkness of the trees. And of the cow heading out to pasture. :) Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy

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  12. You know which part of this post I liked best? The personal SAG at the end. Nothing could be better at the end of a hard ride. Except maybe a cup of cinnamon hot chocolate... WITH the SAG driver, of course!

    Lovely photos, as always, but in particular the moon and the reflections. What can I say? I'm still a Stevie Nix fan at heart. (Sisters of the Moon)

    See, I'm way behind on my blog reading, too!

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    1. Yes, it is awfully nice to know that someone is willing to come and pick you up (and disassemble the bike, and stow it in a too-small trunk, and then drive home to reassemble it there). The ride wasn't even that hard, I just left too late in the day and took to many photos at the turnaround point.... :)

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