Saturday, November 8, 2008

feast day

a perfect day for a fall bike ride, it surely is.
I carefully checked my hourly weather prediction this morning, and determined that a departure time of 1 pm would allow me to be riding in the warmest hours of the day.
so I left at noon, because I couldn't wait.
I had been working all morning, indoors, in my jammies while sipping coffee. which is all good, and I was very productive, but I was itching to get that ride done. yes, done. not to get the ride going, but to get it over with. I am in another one of those phases where I have to search high and low and all over the place to find motivation to get out there and pedal away.
this motivation lately has been coming only from my uncontrollable desire to eat, and the resulting tightening of my clothes. not a good thing. I'm blaming it on the changing seasons, and the fact that my body likes a little more fat hanging around it during the cold winter months . . .
and get this: I just had to go answer my door, where my cute neighbor stood with a warm loaf of pumpkin-banana bread that she had just baked. just the smell of it makes me salivate and gain half a pound . . .
back to biking.
the sun was out, and that helped me to get my gear on, but then I stood in the garage, all ready to go, and couldn't make a decision of which direction to take off in. south or east. east, or south? south . . . or east. geez. it took me a ridiculous amount of time to decide I should head east, up emigration, because I may not be able to do that as much in the future. a thirty-miler was my plan, and I headed out.
and this is what my rides up emigration these last two days have given me: a completely sensual experience that I just want to roll around in, luxuriate in, and memorize so that I can relive it a month or two from now, when I am relegated to spin bikes and couch potato land.
it is a veritable sensual feast right now: the snow and rain of earlier in the week have saturated the ground and all that rests upon it, unleashing those rich, earthy fragrances that I cannot name. the leaves are wet, emitting that sharp, distinct smell of fall that fills my nostrils with its richness. wood burns in fireplaces and drifts out of chimneys, pleasing my nose and imagination, as scenes of cozy homes dance through my mind. my cheeks are just cold enough that I can feel the chill without having to touch them; I feel it from the inside, and glory in the crisp air that has tickled them. my fingers tingle, too, with the cold, while sweat drips down the hollow of my back.
and my eyes: they move constantly, scanning the hillsides for changes from the last ride, looking to form pictures and memorize what I am able to see. a medium blue sky, clouds pushing themselves across it, and the sloping hill spotted with snow and bare trees and low shrubs that have shed both leaves and snowfall. and my favorite thing of all, little dell.
yesterday, under a sky heavy with clouds, little dell reflected a hillside of brown and white. but the water itself looked as though a huge slab of slate lay directly below its surface, a slab so large that it reached from shoreline to shoreline. the deep blue-gray of the slate, coated with just an inch or two of water, colors the reservoir, and the reflected hillside then becomes almost iridescent, as though a drop or two of oil have spilled into the water and sent the merest hint of playful purples and greens into this deeply solemn water.
the sensual feast concludes with the quiet in the air, the skittering of small animals in the roadside brush, a gentle hello from the older couple walking down the bike lane, hand in hand.

I returned home and began raking leaves, stirring up more pungent smells, taking my bare hands and grabbing piles of the damp things, stuffing them into plastic bags which will wait patiently to be collected later in the week. the sun stayed strong and warm, my lawn slowly reappeared from underneath its blanket of yellow and gold, and each inhale reminded me of my ride up the canyon, which I was terribly glad I had not only completed, but fully experienced along the way.

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