Monday, March 24, 2014

woodpecker weekend

I'm reading a book about mountain biking.
well, mountain biking people.
mountain biking people who share their thoughts and discoveries as they ride--and sometimes don't ride--and explore the world around and within them.
Wild Rides and Wildflowers, a book penned by two men who formerly taught at BYU and formerly believed in the mormon religion, shares their botanical and philosophical observations, often humorously and never without that fascinating perspective that comes from being marinated in testosterone.
I love this book.
perhaps the most fun of all is that they keep falling off their bikes, endos and sideslips and full on tumbles, feet still clipped to pedals.
but it also makes me think even more deeply about all that surrounds me when I'm out on my bicycle.

I rode saturday and sunday, following the same route each day, up emigration canyon and down past the now ice-free reservoir, past the still-locked gate and up toward big mountain.
saturday I made it 2.5 miles past the gate.
sunday I made it 2.6 miles past the gate.
and both days I heard woodpeckers.

I rarely hear woodpeckers, and to me, each sighting is exciting.  woodpeckers are so clean cut, sharp-edged, spiffy.  they are hard-working, industrious, serious about the work they do.  no messing around, no lollygagging, no leisurely bikerides for them.

my publisher has woodpeckers at his house in torrey and swears they'll be the death of him.

but I was excited to hear them at work this weekend, high on telephone poles, bodies tense and relaxed simultaneously.
and it made me think of Wild Rides and Wildflowers, this book full of flowers and grasses, fox and deer, snakes and rocks and roots.  with a little philosophy thrown in, a bit of angst, the tiniest smidgen of humility and a bit of humus.  a few male jokes, a few tributes to women.  all written with a light but wisdom-soaked heart.

I don't think I'll ever really be a mountain biker.  it's seeming further and further from my path, as I like bumps less and less.  but to read about it and experience it vicariously is a gift.  and to read about it, with a little botany lesson here and there, a few ah-ha's, and a dose of well-weathered testosterone, is a deeply satisfying way to spend a chilly evening indoors wrapped in a blanket on a soft couch.

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