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Friday, February 5, 2010

A February Snowfall


Out of the bosom of the Air, Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken, Over the woodlands brown and bare, Over the harvest-fields forsaken, Silent, and soft, and slow Descends the snow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Last night the rain came, gently sounding on the roof of my home while I lay warm and bundled in winter's blankets. The sound a lullaby to lull me to dreamland, a familiar sound from childhood and my earliest memories there is a comfort here. I thought of the ride I had gotten in earlier in the day, after a day at work but while the land was still dry. The clouds made a mockery of the suns attempts to reach me, but still I was happy there. Sometimes it seems I am happiest when on my bike exploring the road, feeling the rhythm there, watching the landscape change as the road unfolds before me, onwards and onwards. The only thing that limited me today was the thing that limits me most often: the lack of time. Somehow I strongly suspect that the very limitation is part of what makes it so precious. Eventually sleep claimed me as it claimed Kitti who guarded my feet, a job she does quite well.

On the way to work this morning, the radio forewarned of freezing rain and snow to come, and I desperately wished the prediction wrong. I would like to ride this week-end. The temperatures remained warmer than predicted and the ice did not come, but near the end of the work day the snow began, soft and dreamlike. I got home just as the snow started sticking to the ground, covering everything familiar and turning it into an unknown fairy land, as if clouds have come home to roost. It is funny how very different and unfamiliar everything seems when it snows. When I reach home, I give up a prayer to the heavens thanking God for allowing me to be home before the roads became slick because I am not a good driver and snow driving frightens me. I always think of the time I went off the road with two young children in tow. Nobody was hurt, but Jeff was barely walking, Tiff was small, and the snow was deep. Imagination got us home as we fought battles to reach the warmth of the kitchen where we would wait for my knight to rescue me and bring my steed home. My husband jokes when he says he can't die because I can not survive alone, but sometimes I wonder if he is not right. As I have been there for him, so he has been there for me. Relationships are in trouble when you begin to measure who has given more.

I debate whether to go ahead and cancel the century ride that I have scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday and decide to wait for the weather forecast before making the call. The snow deepens outside my window, blurring the sharp edges of the trees and grasses. I think of how I used to love to run in the snow and toy with the idea of taking a walk, but it is getting dark and I need to hear the forecast. I think briefly of the time I was driving in the snow with my children to the local movie theater before it closed when I suddenly realized I could not see through the wall of white. My daughter was old enough to drive and somehow got us home.

After listening to the weather forecast, I decide to cancel. The snow is to fall all night, though through the window the snow seems less substantial and appears to be lessening. I find I am not upset by the cancellation the way I used to be or perhaps still am at times, perhaps because I got to ride last week-end or perhaps because I am wiser and have learned to be afraid of being responsible for others when the weather is wintry and wild. I think of the Christmas Century in 2008 and how it felt like a century despite the fact we turned around at the first store stop and only made it 50 miles. It is not a time for road bikes, but a time for mountain bikes. I wish I had learned that skill when I was younger. My fear of re-injuring my shoulders in the light of my goals will keep me road bound. Perhaps I grow old and less adventurous. Just last week-end, Mule and I briefly discussed how injuries interfere with sleep and recovery. I grin briefly thinking of his comment that soon he will need to sleep standing up and wonder at those of us who ride despite injuries. I don't think there is any painless way into old age, however, and I would not give up these hours on my bicycle spent in friendship or in solitude. I may, however, be more cautious, maybe;-) As Mary Chapin Carpenter says in one of the her songs that I like, "I think fate should not tempt me."

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