Friday, May 8, 2009

weeping rocks, revisited

the grotto.
weeping rock, a fantastical hollow hidden between stately rock walls.
a place I haven't seen since last fall, since a chilly (cold) morning in late september when, while paused at the top, my teeth chattered so zealously words could barely trip their way out of my mouth.

yesterday it all came back: the beauty of this sleepy canyon, the weeping rocks and hidden lagoons, the cathedral-like green canopy above which floats and weaves and sends dappled light down to the shattered asphalt, the narrow twisting path that leads up and up, the dense solitude and silence that remain no matter how many cyclists pass by.

I rode with 2 others, and we are three very different riders. the slowest was not me, and thanks to her the pace was leisurely at times, which was a refreshing change for this driven cyclist. for miles I held back, an experience with which I rarely gift myself, resulting in my increased sense of strength and endurance.
this is what surprised me most: the climb was not as intense as I remember. I know this canyon fairly well, and can anticipate the rises and falls of the road as I approach them. and yesterday the rises slipped beneath my wheels more quickly than ever, and the falls were joyous gifts from the benevolent civil engineer street-planning gods.

this was my first venture north of emigration, and it was pure delight. I'd been waiting for the snow to melt, as it tends to pull itself oh so slowly back from the road at the end of spring. talk among fellow cyclists was that the top of city creek was still impassable 10 days ago, so the fact that we could ride to the grotto at the highest point was a surprise and a treat.

the grotto has a loop of road at the very top that is covered with crushed and decaying leaves, and the wet, muddy remains of snow that has recently melted away from the asphalt somewhere beneath, making riding a bit treacherous and a lot exhilarating. it is the end of the climb, a place to celebrate this unique and generous canyon who has shared unselfishly of itself the past six miles.

everything changes, yet some things hover longer than others in their perfect state, bending and flexing with the seasons, gripping fiercely their independence, their matchless beauty, their very nature.
for this I give great thanks.

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