Pedaled On

Without fanfare, the cool air crept in during the night, pushing humidity out the back door. Daylight brought crisp air and bicycles to the riding trail.

I find my mind goes to a zen place as I settle into the rhythm of the pedals going round and round. On this day, the phrase “living a dream” echoed through my mind as I ticked the boxes of my life that makes this true.

  • I was pedaling on a trail, while many were back in school.
  • I can take vacations in off seasons.
  • I have wonderful friends.
  • I have a very comfortable home that I love.
  • My husband . . . enough said 🙂

The list could continue, but you get the drift.

A voice took me out of my reverie, “On your left!” as a man sped by me. I noticed he was wearing a onesie type of riding clothes. “Hmmm, that’s different,” I thought. Then I checked my mirror to see if my husband was coming up behind me. After noting these bits of information, I then focused back on the trail where I was jolted out of my musings. A shriek escaped my lips as my eyes took in the sight. A huge black snake stretched across the trail, soaking in the sunshine.

My heart leaped into my throat as I narrowly missed running over this snake. I wondered if my shriek was heard by the man who just passed me or my husband behind me. Slowly my heartbeat and breathing returned to normal. Then the regrets set in. I should have turned around to snap a picture of this snake, but I didn’t. I pedaled on.

My shriek had not been heard by my husband, but he was shocked that I had not stopped for a picture. I wish I had stopped, but for some reason my feet just kept on pedaling. The snake was gone by the time I returned to the spot on the trail. Maybe next time I will be more observant before I nearly run over the poor critter.

Fall Hazard

Fall has it’s own special delights that it brings to our world. Beautiful colors light up the landscape with the warm colors of reds, oranges, and yellows. Cooler temperatures allow us to add a layer, whether it’s to our bodies or our beds. We look forward to this change of season, but sometimes summer snaps its head and reminds us that it is not ready to depart.

The blue sky with billowy clouds called us to enjoy a bike ride down the paved path of the Frisco Highline Trail. The colors were just beginning to creep into the foliage. Sunlight caught the silver sparkle of web lines overhead. Humidity pushed its way into the ride and wrapped its arms around me, but I didn’t let that slow me down. Pedaling created a breeze to savor.

The world went into s-l-o-w motion when I saw it flying toward me. A teeny tiny, neon green worm (?) was riding the breeze and headed straight for my face. I turned my head and bike trying to miss it. Whew! That was a close one!

I pedaled on, but something was on my sun glasses. I thought it was a hair. As I pedaled, I pulled off the glasses and found myself gazing at that neon green worm frozen to my glasses. I guess it wasn’t a close call after all.

I stopped my bike, because of course I needed a picture of this little critter. Multiple shots were taken, but they all came out blurry as it scurried across and around the lens of my sunglasses. Finally I blew a puff of air and it vanished.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

I looked down at my neon green shirt. There were several more little worms hanging on for dear life. A quick shake of the fabric sent them away. Fortunately I wasn’t that far from the end of the ride, I could just imagine/feel the worms crawling around on my damp skin and through my hair. I needed a shower to rid this creeping feeling!

I was not the only one with green hitchhikers. My husband had several spots of green stuck to his face and shirt too.  I just hate these hazards that Mother Nature sends my way.

Moments to Celebrate

A few short celebrations for this week:

1) It was time, my bike had been looking forlorn. My foot healed, it was time to return to the bike. The first time out caused a bit of fear. Fear was conquered. I can celebrate the return to biking. Now if only the weather will cooperate, I will be back pedaling the mornings away.

2) Each day I inspect the tomato plants. At first it was looking for the beginnings of a ball developing from the blossom. Then it was watching the ball grow bigger and bigger. Now I search for the color to change. One lone tomato has decided it is time to cast aside that green coat and try on a more vibrant color. Hopefully the rest of the tomatoes will catch on to this new fad and they will want to be just as brilliant.

red

Still needs to work on that color, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

 

 

A Ditch of a Day*

Another glorious day, perfect for a bike ride! It had been a great ride until . . . I was on the last uphill grade. I had just made a turn and was pedaling hard and slow. A car came up behind me. I moved over but my wheel slipped off the edge of the blacktop. The lip of the road was too high for me to whip my bike back onto the pavement. I had no choice but to continue down into the ditch. I applied my brakes, trying to slow down. Life began moving in slow motion.

I took my foot off the pedal, reaching for the ground. It was too far down. Slowly the bike began to fall to the right with me still on it. The grass created a soft landing. There I was laying on the ground with the bike on top of me. My first thought was I’m so glad there’s no one around to see me. My next thought was how am I going to get up? Mentally I did a pain check of my body. Mostly okay, except for my right foot. It hurt, but it wasn’t OMG! pain.

Slowly I pulled my legs away from the bike, pushing the bike away with one leg. I was at an awkward angle, getting up was not a graceful move. Once I was up, I looked over my bike. Nothing was at an odd angle, so I began the task of pushing it out of the ditch.

A black SUV stopped next to me. The window rolled down and the driver asked, “Are you okay? I saw you go down, so I turned around to check on you.” I assured her I thought I was okay. She moved on. I knew something wasn’t right with my foot, but I figured I could make it home. Home was only about a half mile away and most of it was downhill.

Once home I hobbled into the house to explain what happened. “Do we need to get you checked out? my husband inquired. A cold pack was applied and my foot was elevated.

“Let’s wait and see what happens today. If it doesn’t feel better in the morning, we will go to urgent care,” was my response.

Urgent care opened at 9:00, we were there at 9:02. An x-ray revealed that my third metatarsal was broken. The orders were to stay off my foot completely until I could see the specialist. Crutches are not as easy or fun as I once thought they might be. The rest of the weekend found me perched on the couch.

Monday morning dawned bright and I had hopes that someone would call from a doctor’s office. No one did. I contacted Urgent Care and they gave me the number of the office for my referral. Long story, shortened . . . I have a lovely new boot to wear for the next six weeks.

Good thing gray is a good color for me.

Good thing gray is a good color for me.

*title suggested by my friend Raegan 🙂 Thanks Raegan!

Celebration Time

All conditions were perfect. The temperature was not cold, nor was it hot, just perfect. The wind was nonexistent. The day had no demands on my time. I had no excuse not to take my bike out for the first time this year. As I pedaled away from the house, I worried if my body would be up to the challenge. Thank goodness for lower gears to help me climb the inclines. I eagerly surveyed the landscape, looking to see what had changed in the last few months. I noticed a house for sale, but not much else had changed. There was one corner that I had to check out. This photo is from last April. A few weeks later, the fence disappeared. Then the house was taken apart and it too disappeared. I wondered if the daffodils would reappear or had they been bulldozed away?

These poor blossoms looked like they were in jail, looking for a way to escape.

These poor blossoms looked like they were in jail, looking for a way to escape.

I got my answer.

No more chain link to hold these flowers back.

No more chain link to hold these flowers back.

Mindlessly pedaling down a connecting road, something moved into my right peripheral view. Before I could even pause to grab my camera, a deer bounded gracefully over the barbed wire fence, hooves clattered on the blacktop road, and she disappeared into the woods to my left. The sighting was so brief, but it created a movie in my mind that I replay.

Hopefully, conditions will be perfect again and I will pedal on. Perhaps my deer will pause and allow me to take a photo of her.

A Few Views From the Bike

Biking opportunities are rarer now that fall chased summer away. Since the landscape changes between bike rides I am on constant alert to notice the differences. So here I share a few pictures and thoughts.

Early in the fall this vine grew on many trees. It made me think of flannel underwear for trees. Of course it faded away after the first frost.

Early in the fall this vine grew on many trees. It made me think of flannel underwear for trees. Of course it faded away after the first frost.

Not quite sure what to make of this scene. Are they going to have a bonfire and they want comfortable seating? What about rain? This has been there for a couple of months.

Not quite sure what to make of this scene. Are they going to have a bonfire and they want comfortable seating? What about rain? This has been there for a couple of months.

I love, love, love spotting the hawks when the trees are leafless. They are so regal surveying the land below them.

I love, love, love spotting the hawks when the trees are leafless. They are so regal surveying the land below them.

They are also camera shy, so it is rare that I can get focused to capture their image.

They are also camera shy, so it is rare that I can get focused to capture their image.

Some leaves are just not ready to drop. They wear their colors proudly.

Some leaves are just not ready to drop. They wear their colors proudly.

And then there are some who jump ship at the first opportunity. Of course a few hang in there to see what life is like in winter.

And then there are some who jump ship at the first opportunity. Of course a few hang in there to see what life is like in winter.

I guess my next view won’t be from the bike but from two feet.

Changes Abound

Have you noticed the traffic on the road lately? What’s everyone’s hurry? Don’t they know it’s dangerous out there?

I’m not talking about the four (or more) wheeled traffic. The traffic I’m noticing is visible only when there are two wheels or two legs. The roads are literally crawling (pun intended :-))with insects.

Each little crawler has its own style of movement. The fuzzy woolly worm seems to undulate over the road in a constant rhythm. Then you have roly polys who scuttle along. The road is most dangerous for them since they are exactly the same color as the blacktop. (I used to feel bad if I ran over one, but I’ve gotten over that since one of their family members ate on my biggest tomato.) Spiders are quick movers that seem to always be running at a diagonal. I suppose getting eight legs moving in the same directions is difficult. Beetles always seem to have a direct route planned out as they hustle down the road.

Lately the grasshoppers have made an appearance. As the weather turns slightly cooler they come out of the fields and on to the road. I think they like to play chicken with me. Just how close can I get before they leap. Sometimes they miss judge and hit the spokes of my wheel. Plink is the sound they create. I’m sure they are dazed after that encounter. Some have built up their leg muscles so they can leap over the front wheel. A few decide this game is no fun so they jump in the other direction. They drive me crazy as I pedal down the road trying to avoid a collision with them. However, some are not so lucky as the road is littered with grasshopper carcasses.

The increased traffic on the road is not the only change I’ve noticed since the shifting of the seasons has started. There are a few late blooming plants that have erupted in the fields.

This is a river of flowers flowing through the field.

This is a river of flowers flowing through the field.

Massive flocks of birds are gathering on the lines. They must be discussing the route to their winter nesting grounds. Last night I was able to catch theses photos of the birds as we drove up an off-ramp. There were so many more that I couldn’t catch with my phone. Of course everyone was screeching just a bit louder than the one next to him.

What's that you say? I can't hear you? Where are we going?

What’s that you say? I can’t hear you? Where are we going?

Don't they look proper sitting on the line?

Don’t they look proper sitting on the line?

This is also the time of year you must be cautious of where you walk. Webs appear overnight and catch you unaware. The strands that are disconnected float freely in the breeze looking for someone or something to drape themselves over.

This spider is outside the kitchen area. Fortunately it chose to build the web in a non-traffic area of the yard. Did you know this spider is afraid of water?

This spider is outside the kitchen area. Fortunately it chose to build the web in a non-traffic area of the yard. Did you know this spider is afraid of water?

Slowly the earth shifts and everyone living on this planet must make adjustments too. I just don’t know if I’m ready for the change, yet. Are you?