this morning I was making lists as I rode up the canyon, in the dark, by myself but not in the least by myself.
there were millions ~ yes, millions ~ of crickets singing their love songs, and there were creatures rustling in the foliage beside the road. I saw the shadow of a startled deer, caught in an oncoming car's headlights, and I saw a waddling porcupine-ish animal a bare 4 feet from my wheel. birds hid in the darkness, tossing out brief songs and calls as I made my way up the canyon under the starred but moonless sky.
my lists were about things like cars heading up the canyon (1) and down (10). about cars parked at the top (2 the first time I reached the summit, 3 by the time I had ridden down to the gate and back up to the summit again), runners (3), and number of times cars dimmed their lights for me (3).
I was easily spooked this morning, as I haven't quite adjusted to the depth of darkness that has suddenly become the early morning norm. shadowy things beside the road would move as I passed, and strange shapes loomed behind trees and garages and cars.
one house, situated across the road from a rocky hillside, sends a powerful porch light out and through the gap in trees so that it hits that hillside: as I rode past I could watch my shadow self silhouetted against the wall of rock (was that me? possibly I? or just myself?) pedaling up the road, legs circling round and round, and round again before it all disappeared back into the thick and near-silent dark.
just a mile or two further up the road I hit a spot where houses are set far back, and scrub oak and dense foliage line the road. all of a sudden I heard a loud whirring noise that startled me, and I nervously looked all around to see what could be nearby or approaching from which direction. from out of nowhere suddenly appeared a ghost-like shape of a body on a bicycle, speeding down the other side of the road, lightless, spookily, the whizzing disappearing as abruptly as it had appeared.
I don't think he heard my exclamation, which bubbled from me out of pure shock, and was some messy conglomeration of consonants and vowels, never to be found in a dictionary, possibly only discoverable in susan's own thesaurus, under cripes!
my sleep last night had been spotty and broken, so I had left home at 5:15, a bit earlier than usual. but soon the days will shorten even more, and I will both leave and return home in the dark, and batteries will last fewer rides. for I believe in lights ~ both front and back ~ so that my solitary headlight will warn others before I go whizzing past them, down the hill, in the deep dense dark of the beginning of the day.