Friday, June 08, 2007

Greenness

Date: June 7
Mileage: 52.8
June mileage: 124.4
Temperature upon departure: 47

I was finally able to surpass my longest post-injury ride - by mileage at least. Did 53 in just over three hours; it was pretty mellow with the exception of erratic but strong crosswinds over the entire distance and of course scattered bursts of rain. I didn't intend to ride that much today, but I woke up a little earlier than usual and had some time to kill before an anniversary lunch for my favorite co-worker. Twenty-five years at the Juneau Empire. Those kind of numbers boggle my mind.

Strange to spend three hours on a bicycle. After four empty months, three hours should seem like an eternity, but it's just the opposite. The minutes roll by like noon traffic on an expressway; the miles move forward even faster. I showed up at El Sombrero dripping rainwater from every square inch of clothing and feeling like I had just bike commuted in from my house, not from an out-and-back point some 25 miles north. And of course I shouldn't feel that way. But there is intrinsic virtue - even more than experience and fitness - in being new at something again. Before it becomes habit, before it becomes work, before it becomes life, it - whatever it may be - is simply an adventure. And time always gobbles up the adventures.

Not even the rain could bother me today. I often complain on my blog about rain (but not nearly as much as I could, believe me.) But this morning I found myself completely enamoured by the rich shades of green that have engulfed Juneau. Green crawls up the mountainsides all the way to snowline; it drips from the trees with neon intensity and saturates the ground like endless gallons of spilled paint. I spent most of my life in the drought-parched Mountain West, where the green season lasts all of two weeks. We learned to find beauty in the browns and yellows, saturation in the dust clouds and neon intensity in the glow of wildfire flames and lightning. So I am caught off guard by all the green, green everywhere, nearly suffocating the valley despite its infancy. The rainy season, after all, hasn't even begun.

It is spring, I suppose, the wave of newness, and I am happy to be in a position to ride its crest. It's still early to say whether or not my knee cartilage infection - or whatever I have - has finally let go. I bend the joint awkwardly out of habit, but am having a harder time finding the pain these days. Time will tell. I will continue to take it slow. And maybe, somehow, keep things new.