Blossom at the edge of the woods
Cloud-kites flying in wide blue skies
Swirl of blackbirds crossing my path
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Spring has been flirting with winter for the last few days, with howling wind, spitting rain, and freezing nights. But Sunday is gloriously sunny and slightly warmer; the icy north wind has moderated to a merely chilly west wind.
Today I am hunting two types of flower. What I thought for years was wild plum has been blooming this week, and I'm determined to get some pictures of it. But the first tree I see is so tossed by the wind I have to (gently) hug a branch to get a still photo:
Now that I see the blossoms up close, they don't look at all like plum. (I find later that this tree rejoices in the name of Allegheny Serviceberry. Much less euphonious than "wild plum", but no less beautiful.)
Back on the road, the sun is shining at just the right angle (or so I think) for a turtle shadow shot - but it's harder than I realized to capture Tallulah's shadow:
|Best we could do, Marigold|
(Note to self: find smoother pavement for next turtle shadow shot.)
A mile or so up the road, just past my favourite larches...
...is the next flower on my list. At the larches' feet is a marshy stretch where grow these sunny little beauties:
Marsh Marigolds, or kingcups, have been rejoicing my sight on the last few training rides. I'm glad I can stop and take their photo today.
...which turns out, when researched, to be Meadow Anemone, or Canadian Anemone.
My road leads next through some woods, where grows more Allegheny Serviceberry. The wind being temporarily blocked by trees, better photos can be taken:
Around the corner is another beautiful example, peeping out shyly from the edge of the woods:
Flower-hunting over, it's time to head west and into the wind.
Some favourite oaks:
I pass three great things all in one place - railroad, barn, blossoms:
A train is all that's required here to make my cup of happiness complete (but alas, it doesn't come).
The road curves around large open fields backed by pine forests. I like the stripes of green and brown, with blue-and-white sky above:
Crows in neighbouring trees:
We reach a main highway which leads to the next town. Here we have the option to ride on the road or on a raised trail next to the river meadows.
"What do you think, Tallulah? Trail or road? I'm inclined towards the road myself."
"I think the trail sounds prettier," she says. "Why would you want to ride on the road? What's wrong with the trail?"
"In a word," I say, "pedestrians."
"Oh," says Tallulah. "I was afraid you were going to say turtles."
"Turtles are no problem - they move in a reasonably straight line and you can usually tell where they're going. But humans on foot are unpredictable - I'd hate to run into one. And this trail is usually full of humans."
"What a prima donna," mutters Tallulah (who thinks I can't hear her). "I vote for the trail," she says more loudly. "You can take pictures of the river."
So we take the trail, which turns out to be blessedly smooth and free of foot traffic (human or chelonian). We're headed straight into the wind, so we can't go very fast, but we enjoy it all the same. On the horizon are the steeples and water tower of the town through which we'll pass:
The trail runs for about 3 miles, then we're back on surface streets.
We reach the river proper, and stop for a short break. Iris rests against a tree...
...while Tallulah climbs down for a look at the river (and possibly a nibble of this succulent plant):
Then it's back in the saddle, heading out of town to explore a road we've never ridden. We reach our turnaround point and head back, the wind and sun behind us.
The road dips and rolls...
...and passes over the interstate...
...and brings us back to town. Aided by the tailwind, we zoom down the trail...
...where a cloud of blackbirds swoops across our path and back again. We feel as if we're flying with them.
Soon we're on the last stretch for home. Shadow shot with cows:
Farm buildings glowing red in the sun:
The wind has veered back to the north and is getting very chilly indeed. It's good to reach the warm house.
A lovely ride, though windy. After days of (even windier) training rides fuelled mostly by determination, it's nice to take the camera out and mosey round the countryside, stopping for photos whenever I like.
Miles this year: 409.7
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