Evolution of Spring

I hesitate to revisit the topic of spring since every time I think spring is here to stay the temperatures plunge. Spring seems to be playing hide and seek this year. Just when it seems safe to bring out the capri pants, I find myself reaching for the turtleneck sweater to ward off the chill. However, we have had a few warm days where I’ve been able to pedal down the road. As I pedal, my mind wanders as I take note of the landscape.

I’ve been thinking about the book Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Obed. I love how seamlessly she wove the story relating it to the various types of ice. I wondered if there was something I could write like that. That’s when I woke up to the changing scenery. So here is my version of Eighteen Kinds of Blooms.

The world of nature sleeps during the winter, gathering its energy to make a statement when spring returns. Slowly the ground thaws to allow the crocus and grape hyacinth to peek through the khaki colored grass. They are the first bits of color to whet the appetite for the color that is about to come.

As they fade away the tulip tree (not sure what this tree is, click here) begins the parade for all flowering trees. Too often this tree is bitten by cold temperatures and never gets to show-off for all who pass by. While eyes are looking up, they look down too. Hyacinths are spears of fragrant color. Daffodils bob in the wind.  Then the forsythia breaks out in a mass of sunshine on a branch, mounds of yellow dot the land.

Bradford pear trees burst into bloom, but their flower fades quickly as the leaves are anxious to appear. Now when I look down, tulips appear to replace the daffodils. The phlox is warming up as it overflows the beds spreading the carpet of purple. That same orchid color becomes

crabtree

aredbud tree cloud of color in the woods as redbud trees pop up in surprising places. Fruit trees, flowering crab trees,
and sand cherry trees compete for attention in the air. Back to the ground, minuscule wildflowers dot the yards with dainty blooms. All too often there is that pushy weed, the dandelion, trying to take over the entire yard.

yard

Slowly the dogwood tree begins to open up.

maple

When viewed from a distance, the blossoms appear to be suspended snowflakes among the slowly leafing trees. The new leaves timidly begin the opening process,

every shade of green can be seen. Although when you look closely not all new leaves are green. There are shades of red and rust too.

Lilacs have begun to bloom. Every day as I ride a few more buds have opened up to allow me to inhale their fragrance as I pedal past. Peonies and irises sprout. They won’t be blooming yet, but they hold the promise of color to come. Soon the bedding plants will appear in yards and trees will be  fully leafed out. Even though spring has been slow to evolve, it is always a joy to watch the procession of color appear.

Update on our new neighbors: two have hatched as of Sunday.

Update on our new neighbors: two have hatched as of Sunday.

Advertisements

What’s Wrong?

Read more slice of life stories at Two Writing Teacher’s blog.

Push the left pedal down, the right swings up, repeat, down then up. The motion doesn’t change but something is not right.

The weather had prevented me from riding for a few days, but my stamina should not have deteriorated that quickly. This ride is turning into a chore, not a pleasure as I slip the gear to an easier level. I can’t believe how hard it is. I think this must be “an off” day for me. Finally I make it back to the car. I tell my husband I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. “I noticed you were moving slower today. Everyone has an off day, maybe today was yours,” my husband says to me.

The next time I ride I am not on the trail but on the roads around our house. I feel that familiar resistance to my pedaling. What is wrong with me? Why is this so hard? I continue to shift my gears hoping to make it easier to pedal, but it is still pushing back at me. I begin to wonder if something has broken or gotten out of adjustment? Should I bring this bike back to the shop and have them look at it?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I complained to my husband when I returned home. “It is so hard to pedal.” He takes off on the bike to check it out.

“I think I found the problem,” he announced a short time later. “Your tire pressure was about half of the recommended amount. I filled your tires, so try it now.”

Oh yes! This is much better! It isn’t me! What a relief to know why it was so hard to pedal. Now I know, the tire pressure will be the first thing to check when the pedaling isn’t quite right.

Spotting Wildlife

Read more slice of life stories at Two Writing Teacher’s blog.

He sat by the side of the path, hidden by the shadows. Observing all the action passing by, they never noticed him sitting there. I pedaled past. I spotted him. I stopped. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I reached into my bike bag to grab my camera, but he was camera shy and he waddled into the brush. It was a groundhog.

I’ve been riding the same trail every day for the past several weeks and each day is an adventure. I never know what wildlife will cross my path. There are the typical sightings of squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, turtles, and birds. Some dart across the blacktop, quick to disappear into the vegetation. Others seem to taunt the humans on the path. They look at you with the look in their eye that says “I was here first.”

Yesterday I had six female turkeys amble across the path. They stepped slowly and carefully placing each foot with purpose. Necks wobbled back and forth as they turned their heads with eyes alert for possible danger. I’m sure they were talking to each other as they made their way across the path. Unfortunately they were too far into the brush for me to get a picture.

Maybe someday I will be able to capture a photo of some wildlife, until then my words will have to paint the picture.

Quick update: Today was the day of the snake. A huge, thick black snake lounged on the left side of the trail. Fortunately I was on the right side. A few miles down the road was a small red striped fellow. He was simply minding his own business when I came up and startled him. He thought the best plan was to turn around and slither back from whence he had come. Unfortunately that was directly in front of me. I swerved and prayed that I did not crush him. He must have survived as there was no carcass on the trail as I returned. However, there was still one more encounter with another small snake. It was uneventful, we were able to stay out of one another’s way. The air was cool, but the sun was warm. I think they all needed a touch of warmth to help them make it through the day.

Good Idea?

“You want to ride the trail tonight?” my friend Tina says on Monday morning.

“I suppose we could,” I respond slowly, desperately searching my brain for any possible excuse. Unable to present a valid excuse we make tentative plans for meeting up on the bike trail later.

When I tell my husband of the plans, he is delighted. He rides regularly. Me, not so much. In fact I haven’t ridden for about two years (really, it’s been that long?)

As I am preparing our dinner, he is out in the garage attaching the bike carrier to the car, airing up tires, and gathering helmets and such. My back tire won’t air up. It appears that the valve stem is bent. We can’t locate the spare tubes, so I will have to ride his road bike (he has two bikes). Not a big deal (I think) because his bike is similar to mine. That is not the case I later realize.

Finally, we are off and ready to meet up with Tina. Some adjustments must be made to the seat height before setting off. My husband’s bike has cages on the pedals, I do not like them. They are difficult for me to get my feet into them. His seat is not comfortable. This does not bode well for a fun time for me. I am a little wobbly at first, but I push and pull on the gear levers trying to find a good gear. My husband and Tina ride ahead of me as I try to get comfortable with the bike.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Sweat begins to drip down my face as the temperature rises. The trail is stifling hot. My butt hurts and I want this misery to end. Pedal, pedal, pedal. We continue on and on. Finally, we stop for a moment.

“How much farther to the end? I ask.

“Probably about another mile,” is the response. My heart drops. I can’t go another mile. Tina and I turn around to begin the journey back. My husband will ride on and catch up with us.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, ring! Tina’s phone rings, “Where are you?” her husband, Matt asks. “Are you getting wet? It’s pouring here.”

Uh-oh! This is not the news I want to hear, because the top of the convertible is down! There were no clouds in the sky or prediction of rain when we left an hour before.

We are not getting rained on at this moment. Five minutes later, there are a few sprinkles hitting us. They feel good on my sizzling hot skin. Ring! It’s Matt again, he’s coming to pick us up. Yes, this is great news to me! My husband has caught up with us and when we told him of the rain he shot off like a rocket.

Matt is my savior! He appears not on a white horse, but in a white truck to pick us up. We head to Tina’s house to collect towels to dry out the car. My husband has made it to the car by the time we arrive with the towels. Fortunately, there wasn’t  anything in the car to get wet (other than the seats and floor mats. We wipe down the insides of the car with the towels.

1/4 inch of water in my door handle

Once we are home, the top of the car is suspended in air to allow not only the top to dry, but also the insides. The next day the car sits in the sun to dry out the interior.

So, was this a good idea? I’ll let you be the judge.

The sky on our return to home. Can you see the isolated rain?

PS: We rode again on Friday evening and Sunday morning. I have my bike back and that makes all the difference in the world! Slowly I am beginning the journey of biking again. I know there will be biking stories in the future.