Monday, September 30, 2013

A Stress-Free Sunday Ride

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Butterflies frittering away their time
Stone walls patiently holding up the years
Freedom to explore any road I choose

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An absolutely perfect Sunday in September - warm sun, faintly cool breeze, golden light, blue skies, quiet countryside, and trees just beginning to kindle with the fires of Autumn.

For the first time all year, I haven't planned my route in advance or calculated the miles I ought to ride. I feel no need to push myself, or go a little faster, or be home by a certain time. Today I am free to go where I like, and explore any turning that takes my fancy. (Why did it take me the entire season to reach this point? I don't know, but I'm glad it finally happened.)

And today I take very few photos. But that's okay. :)

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Sulfur butterflies are dancing back and forth, back and forth, across the busy highway. One flies right through my spinning rear wheel - I don't know if it survives or not. But I'd like to imagine it flying on, a tiny miracle of death-defying aeronautics.

I turn down a road lined with old walls of stone - the kind of stone that is plucked from the fields every spring, then, on many farms, dumped in a pile somewhere out of the way. But here, the stones which the earth has offered up have been carefully fitted together to mark the boundaries of field and road. How many years of toil these walls must represent:

Some miles on, antler-studded posts mark the entry to a field with an old shed:

I came across this Rustic Road earlier in the summer...

...and have been meaning ever since to return and explore it; today seems like a good day.

The Rustic Road starts with a short, sharp climb, then levels out to an appallingly cracked and bumpy surface. (I begin to think that "Rustic" stands for "poorly maintained".)

But some very lovely pines loom over the rutted road:

As we bounce and jolt over the next mile, Tallulah (suspended in her basket) remarks, "Glad I've got my helmet on!"

We reach a turning and sigh with relief as the road smooths out.

I'm sorry to say that the Rustic Road is slightly disappointing. There's nothing really wrong with it; but neither is there anything to set it apart from all the other lovely roads in the county.

The prettiest spot, to my mind, comes just here:

An enticing track branches off to the left, through a tunnel of shady trees, with a glimpse of light at the far end. We'd love to explore it, but it's private property - so we follow the road proper, on up the hill.

We pass farms and fields, marshes and trees. We see horses and cattle, and hear the sharp crackle of nuts falling in the woods. A huge combine approaches us on a very narrow, curvy bit of road, with barely a foot to spare on either side. At the last moment it swings slightly to the right, and we pass each other without incident.

Somewhere along the way, we see our shadow, and take a final photo:

After miles of pleasant meandering through unfamiliar territory, we find our way back to the highway, and from there it's a straight shot for home.

A very enjoyable ride through Autumn fields and woods, under the late September sky.

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  1. Ahhh - perfection! Thanks for sharing another one of your interesting rides. I enjoyed it! I am thinking about the butterfly tho'.

  2. What a perfectly beautiful September Sunday. It must have been fun to be out with no plans. Juliex

  3. Sulfur butterflies-are these the bright yellow ones? I love them! I'm sure he survived :)
    What a lovely, relaxed ride :)

  4. Your woodland path is "The Road Not Taken." Shame that path was on private property :( . You had a lovely ride anyway. Linda

  5. Love seeing the changing colors. We really don't get much of that here in Florida.

  6. I love " stone walls patiently holding up the years"! So well shown and said!

  7. What a gorgeous ride with perfect weather and the initial turning of leaves. I hope you will be able to reign in a few more before your world turns white and forbidding. It is so wonderful to be able to go where you want when you want with no goals and no training requirements. I think this is the best kind of ride of all!

  8. Stone walls, majestic trees, soft warm Autumn air, it sounds like a beautiful ride.

  9. Thank you! I really enjoyed my virtual cycle ride, not saddle sore at all!

  10. Looks like a beautiful day to ride. Glad you got to just ride and not worry about training, or going so many miles.

  11. What a wonderful break from our stormy weather. Thanks for taking the time to ride, and photograph and narrate and send this lovely post, Sue. I especially enjoyed seeing the Rustic Road sign and barn, the view of the tunnel through the trees and the photo of the stone wall. (Miss T and your shadow were pretty cool, too :)
    Gracie xx

  12. I can almost feel that warm yummy sun just looking at your lovely pictures. What a wonderful ride. :)

  13. It looks like you're having perfect cycling weather! I got a nice ride in Sunday after my book club and it was so wonderful.


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