Saturday, September 20, 2008

Everyday beauty

Date: Sept. 20
Mileage: 30.0
September mileage: 500.9

My habit of taking a camera on every bike ride has evolved into a habit of taking a camera essentially everywhere I go. Dentist appointment ... grocery store ... going to pick up a friend at the airport ... no matter where I am, there's a good chance I have my little bombproof point-and-shoot in one of my pockets. And although I generally only take pictures when I'm hiking or biking, every once in a while I stumble across a Kodak moment during my day-to-day life. Like this morning, while I was sitting at my kitchen table downing yet another meal of chocolate-flavored Honey Bunches of Oats (they were on sale), I just happened to glance out the window and see a rainbow stretched over Douglas. So I carried my cereal out to the deck and snapped a photo. (And really, how many cheap basement apartments do you know of that have a view like that? Another benefit of living in a city etched into a mountain.)

Then there was the morning ride with Terry up to Eaglecrest. I was trying to break in Pugsley, who has had a pretty lax summer, for the everyday grind with nice, steady climb. Sunlight filtered through the clouds all morning long, and the sky was just clear enough that I could see the mainland from the ski hill for the first time in ... I don't know ... weeks at least.

At about 3 p.m., I was typing away at my office computer when I saw more hints of sunlight streaming through the window. I walked out on the balcony and watched people fish for chum salmon in a heavy downpour while sunlight flared through a clearing just to the north. The fishermen were all far away from where I was standing ...

So I walked downstairs to buy a Diet Coke from the vending machine and snapped a few more photos.

I left work for my lunch break right around sunset. Before I drove home to make myself dinner (I promise it wasn't Honey Bunches of Oats), I stopped at the Salmon Creek inlet and stood by the highway bridge, just drinking it in.

All the while, right behind me, Observation Peak loomed with a healthy coat of new snow. I thought about how much I would love to be up there at that exact moment, feeling my heart pound and lungs burn in the alpine air while the sun cast an orange glow over snow-dusted boulders. Why, I thought, why couldn't the summer of 2008 just have given me a single 10-hour weather window while I wasn't at work to climb that peak before winter set in? And yet, as I stood next to the highway and my office building and an industrial-zoned section of Juneau all bathed in golden light, I didn't feel too bad about it.

I can't climb mountains every day, but sometimes everyday life is just enough.