"Every spring is the only spring,
a perpetual astonishment."
I am tired from a night of restless dreams, tossing and turning, and a full day of exercise yesterday, but the sun peeks out and calls to me. Spring, I have learned, passes all too quickly. And, as Peters notes, it is always a perpetual astonishment. I head out knowing that I will see something that is new and fresh and not there the previous day. And so, as I have oft done before, I put my leg over the bike and head out so as not to waste the day.
I don't feel up to fighting the dog on the way I would like to go, so I head toward Salem up Leota Hill. As experience has taught, legs that object and say, "You're kidding, right?" the first few miles gradually loosen up and give in and stop complaining. As I climb, I notice that the red buds have started to bloom. Some are still buds, but some have burst open treating me to various shades of pink and purple. My God, they are beautiful. Soon dogwood will follow, but not yet. Dandelions, bright yellow, emphasize the deepening green in the lawns that I pass. I am undone by the beauty around me and so glad that I came out to ride.
As I climb, I notice a hiker crossing the road to reach the Leota trail head. I can't see her head because of the large, black pack she is carrying, but I know it is a women from the curve of her slender hips. I warn her I am coming up behind and on her right and she looks back. She is in her thirties or forties, fine featured, medium length hair pulled back. When I ask, (from an appropriate distance and without dismounting or stopping) she confirms that she is doing a through hike. She says the hills are starting to get to her. I tell her she will be fine. And she will be if she truly wants to finish the entire trail.
When I pass the trail head at the top of the climb, I stop to remove a layer and to take off knee warmers as I have overdressed. I am at the mouth of the trailhead. She has climbed the short hill further in and is crossing over to go on to the Elk Creek trail head. I spend a bit of time thinking that maybe that is something I could do while isolating, then realize that these are not the times to hire a cat sitter. I think for a bit of the through hike I did with Diana and how I enjoyed it though we did not camp. Her husband picked us up at the end of the day and dropped us off where we had left off the following day.
I think about isolating and wonder how long it will last. The longer it goes on the harder it gets, and I don't delude myself: for this to be successful it is not going to be for only a week or two. I grieve for my friends. On a day like today we would be riding together and laughing and joking enjoying the beautiful spring weather. Sharing. I truly miss that and I truly miss them. I miss Paul and Amelia and Lynn and John and Mike and the others. But I will be a good citizen. Because I love these people, I would not risk harm to them through my own selfishness.
I fear to go too far from home because if I would have an issue, how would I get home. I don't think I have the virus, but I did have to go to the store last Tuesday. So, between that and being tired, I head home getting in about 30 miles. That is enough. There is grass to be cut before the next rain comes in later in the week. I remain grateful for my bicycle and the release and freedom it brings. Ride, but ride safely. Perhaps there is something to be learned in solitude that I am meant to learn, even if it is just a greater appreciation of friendship.