Last week the weather was casting a sentimental eye back at winter. "Oh, how I miss those sub-freezing nights and chilly grey days," it seemed to be saying. "Where are the cosy fleece jackets and the smoke rising from the chimneys? Where the sharp sleet and the flurries of snow? I'm not quite ready to let them go...."
The weather got its wish, but only for so long.
By Sunday things have warmed up beautifully, and I'm ready to hit the road. Between the recent inclement weather and a minor health problem, I haven't been on the bike for two weeks, and it feels as though spring is passing me by. This is my chance to catch up on events in the natural world.
Energy levels are low, so I promise myself an easy pace with no pressure to take photos. If I can get three good ones, I'll be happy.
The first thing to catch my eye is a white birch reaching pale arms to the sky, hoping to catch the moon in its branches:
Miles later, after a short swoop downhill, I pass a sandhill crane standing in a little stream. I turn around, hoping he won't panic and run (or stalk) away before I can snap his photo. He cranes his neck a bit (ha! bird pun!), keeping a wary eye on the strange creature pointing a little box at him, but stands still long enough for me to get several shots. This is the best of the bunch:
Soon after, it's time to turn around and head home. I pass an old barn and see a little calf standing on the sunward side, catching some spring rays:
The photo quest is fulfilled.
There are other interesting sights on the ride, food for thought (but not for photos):
A one-horse sulky pulls out of a farm driveway just as I pass. A man holds the reins, and next to him sits a little girl in a helmet. Does she have special needs, or just very careful parents? I wonder, and wave to them, and keep riding.
Four very handsome chickens cross the road ahead. Two black, two deep-russet colour, all beautifully healthy and as free-range as they come. Do their owners worry about them getting hit by passing cars? Or is that just a chance for a chicken dinner?
My shadow rides on in front of me, and I wonder why it always looks so much skinnier than I do. I wonder why the county doesn't keep this highway in better repair. I wonder why corners are always so gravelly, and why drivers can't keep their wheels on the road when they make the turns. (Don't they realise that cyclists have to ride through the mess they leave behind?)
I wonder when the wild plum will bloom, and whether the lilac crop will be good this year. I wonder if the calf by the barn is still standing in the sun, or whether it's gone to look for its mother. I wonder what has happened to the three horses that used to graze in a certain field. I wonder if I'll ever stop feeling nervous when a loud car passes me from behind. I wonder why the weather website said the wind was 6 mph and north, when it's obviously 10-15 and west-by-northwest. I wonder what the frogs are saying as they sing the marsh to sleep.
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What do you think about when you're outdoors? :)
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