Wednesday, October 08, 2008

October sunlight and snow

Date: Oct. 7
Mileage: 22.7
October mileage: 168.9

So my Olympus camera is not broken. What happened is some mud somehow jammed down into the lens area and held the lens cap shut, which is why the camera kept turning off. I finally cleaned it out and it works again. Mud, salt water, snow, ice, falling out of my handlebar bag at 20 mph ... it all just goes with the territory of being my camera. Which is why I don't own expensive cameras.

Geoff is in theory going to be back in Juneau on Wednesday (I say in theory because the last I heard he was leaving northern Idaho on Friday in his rustbucket of a 1989 Honda Civic with 310,000 miles, and I haven't heard from him since.) Anyway, I was going to take a rest day today and knock off a bunch of chores to prepare for his possible arrival (clean the house, call the DMV, mail back that Netflix DVD that's been sitting unopened on the desk for two months, and dig out my big backpack so I could bike commute over to the grocery store and buy just enough food so it doesn't look like I've been eating canned beans and rice for three meals a day.)

Anyway, I crawled out of bed this morning, all pumped up for my mundane plans, when I looked out the window to this completely clear, sunlight-streaked, deep azure sky. And when you wake up to that, in October, you don't fret about covering up the embarrassing evidence of just how deeply you neglect your real life because you spend all of your time outside. No, when you wake up to a sky like that, in October, you go outside.

But because there were chores I really couldn't neglect today, I compromised and went out for a quick mud-and-beach ride with Pugsley. We hit up the Treadwell Ditch Trail until we were thoroughly splattered with cold mud, then went down to the sea to wash it off. The beach riding was great fun. A mid-tide covered a lot of the sand and forced us up in the gravel. We dodged boulders and crunched through fields of frozen seaweed, still frosty where the sun hadn't quite broken through the shadows. I had forgotten just how much Pugsley loves frosty stuff.

The municipal election made for a late night at work, and I found myself riding home at about midnight. Not many people in my small town are on the road at that time of night, and the air hangs heavy with an eerie silence. My breath swirled in a thick cloud around my headlamp and obstructed my vision, so I turned it off. With only a little handlebar headlight casting a thin white beam in the darkness, I pedaled along wet pavement glistening with flecks of ice. I'm still trying to get the hang of my bike commuting routine and still pack the way I did in the summer ... I had only a thin rain shell, cotton socks, no gloves. But I didn't feel cold. White flakes started to swirl through my headlight beam and I realized they were snow flurries. Sun and snow, even light snow, are both rare occurrences in October, and I felt privileged as the only person on the road at the moment, maybe the only person to have had the rare opportunity to pedal through both. It's simple moments like that, that remind me why I actually do enjoy bike commuting. Just like blowing off my daily chores in the morning, it's a regular opportunity to experience simple, satisfying moments that I otherwise wouldn't have.

7 comments:

  1. what you witness on a daily basis is just unbelieveable. thank you for sharing.

    i have decided to write a book...i know it is absurd...i have never written a thing. i posted an unedited excerpt on my blog if you care to read :)

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  2. Sounds like Pugsley appreciated the outing. BTW, it goes both ways. Had to get to work by 6am so was biking to work this morning VERY early. The silence in DC at that hour is creppy/fantastic.

    J

    http://adventuresinvoluntarysimplicity.blogspot.com/

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  3. Anonymous4:16 AM

    With time the routine things about commuting, like the correct clothing for the weather, become automatic.
    It is great to have a dedicated bike, in my case one that I only maintain when it REALLY needs it.

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  4. I LOVE the first picture with your bike on the beach! Great!

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  5. That beach picture is amazing. It looks deceivingly warm.

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  6. Anonymous10:18 AM

    Enjoyable and interesting entry on your seizing the moment.

    Wonderful photos.

    Kaz

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  7. great flatlands rider1:00 PM

    Geoff left a comment on your blog a few days back -- and his blog indicated he was in British Columbia on Sunday. Love your youthful enthusiasm.

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