"There is something deep within us that
sobs at endings. Why, God, does everything
have to end? Why does all nature grow
old? Why do spring and summer have to go?
Yesterday's century was hot and hilly: it was difficult and there were times I wished I were elsewhere, when I thought to myself that I am getting too old for this nonsense. Still, I am so very glad that I accepted the challenge and rode: not only because the course had some beautiful roads, but because the easy cycling season is about over. I will miss most of these people as many don't ride throughout the winter but change their focus to other things. I will miss the ease of riding just in shorts and a jersey with no jacket or arm warmers or leg warmers to carry. I will even miss the sweat of summer, somehow less sour and more cleansing than the sweat of a winter ride. Certainly less chilling. While there is a beauty in the winter, I will miss having color in the world. And I will miss light and the warmth of summer sun. Even after all my years, I still marvel at how the sun can shine but without bestowing warmth in the winter. I will miss the quiet talk and feeling of anticipation at the start of the ride, and the relief at the end. The camaraderie that comes from attacking a hill together. But to everything there is a season and each has, I suppose, its purpose. One more and the TMD is over for 2019 and all that will remain are the memories.
During the ride yesterday, I harkened back to my early cycling days. I grin briefly remembering my thoughts when my husband bought me my first bike because he was concerned I was running too much. "What on earth," I thought, "will I do with this thing?" I rode only so as not to hurt his feelings, for despite his tough, exterior, inside he was a marshmallow, the exterior wall there only for his own protection. Sometimes I wonder if he ever truly trusted anyone not to hurt him, even me.
But I rode and and as I did, I fell in love with the way the wind whispered in my ear, teasing me with secrets that only she knows. I fell in love with the sound of wheels turning and gears clicking and shoes clipping in and out. I fell in love with the look of the jerseys spreading out before me, a tapestry of color and form. I fell in love with the roads that lead me to new destinations and new experiences and challenges to overcome. I fell in love with the companionship, but ironically also with the way my bike could take me on solo adventures and could give me time to think. This was so fortunate for me because, as he suspected, my hip began to hurt when I ran and I began to develop a foot issue. Eventually running faded, and cycling was what remained.
But I will miss the summer. I miss those I have ridden with who no longer travel these roads, whose paths have lead them in other directions even while I am glad for them when it is voluntary and not injury or illness based. Still deep down there is a part of me that echoes the thoughts and feelings in the words of Mr. Wheeler: "Why, God, does everything have to change?" I add on the wish that God give me the strength to face these changes as they arise, for arise they will. Until then, however, I will soak in every moment and bind them to my heart.