"Forget yesterday for it has already forgotten you.
Don't sweat tomorrow - you haven't even met.
Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a
truly precious gift - today."
It is bike to work day Friday, but I know that I need my car to work that day, so I look at my calendar and decide upon an alternative: Wednesday. The night before I plug in the battery for my light, the one I use on short rides. I pack my back pack with the work clothing I will need that day, check my tires and tail lights, then head to bed a bit earlier than normal and set my alarm a little earlier than normal.
I wake at 5:00, right before the alarm goes off, knowing I need to leave by 6:00 to make it and have a bit of a cushion to ensure I get there on time. Rain is not predicted, but it is abnormally warm and stuffy. As I slip out the door, I miss the coolness that would normally greet me this time of morning, but it is nice not to have to wear a jacket. I always think of him when I leave, of how if he were awake he would urge me to be careful, the concern in his voice wrapping itself around me, the brief shelter of his arms. He didn't hate my cycling like my mother did, but he did worry. I miss that. I miss the touch of him, the smell of him, the sound of him, the love of him. But I have learned to survive and even to thrive. Life is not the same, it is different, but it is still precious.
The first couple of miles, normally mellow and relaxing, are tense. Due to the state road closure, the cars that normally would not dream of coming this way are coming in what seem to be droves and the roads are narrow. I can tell I am quite visible though as I see them slow, almost seeming to pause, in my rear view mirror. I think about how circumstances change things when I find myself glad to reach the wide shouldered road I normally ride in on because it is quicker than the back roads I love so. I will ride the back roads home, but I am not willing to take the extra time on the way, at least not today.
I notice daisies and honeysuckle and the first of the sweet clover as dawn pushes herself into the world. The moon hangs off to the left, pale and solemn, not quite ready to yield. Though I am heading west and not east, clouds tinge briefly with pinkness as dawn insists on having her turn. I think of how I missed the night riding this year with not doing the brevets.
I climb the hill thinking of how Tiffany and I came here to gather rocks for landscaping her new home. We ate Mexican that day and were approached by a geologist who mistakenly thought we were there looking for a certain type of stone. I think of how I worry about her and her brother sometimes and decide that is just part of motherhood: even if I live to 90 I assume I will always worry about them. I think of how I miss my mother, not as she was at the end, but as she was when she was still healthy and had her memory. I wonder if I will lose my memory. It seems almost as if that is the same as losing yourself. After she lost her memory, my mother always enjoyed it when I regurgitated the stories she had told me about herself, and I wonder if my children will tell me my stories if I forget them.
And in the midst of my reverie, I find I have arrived. I bring my bicycle inside the building, change clothes, and begin to deal with those issues that need to be dealt with, that I am paid to deal with. And I anticipate the ride home. Today is, indeed, a gift I gave myself, enriched by a ride to work.