A Winter Ride

Last Sunday a good sized group was ready to brave the elements for a Southern NJ 200K.  Because the forecast on which we’d made plans was dead wrong, we all bagged the ride; good thing, too, as the precipitation that day was largely ice, turning every road surface into an ice rink.  Winter is like that; you make plans that sometimes work but sometimes, the smartest thing you can do is cancel them, take a breath, get the fire going and grab a good book.

Today I almost didn’t ride even though the forecast looked fine yesterday.  This morning I watched the weather again and heard the mention of a possible flurry or two in some areas (meaning, next to nothing, and certainly nothing to worry about); this forecast worried me, but instead of canceling my plans, I decided to start an hour earlier, and I managed to finish the ride just as the first flakes started falling.  Now there is half an inch on the ground, but I’m inside, warm and dry.

winter ride

I’m so glad I went.  There is an austere beauty to the winter landscape: dried seed pods on long brittle stalks, clumps of tall, brown, feathery grass, bare fields to the horizon, brown-black leafless trees, patches of ice and icy slush, and streams half frozen, half sluggishly flowing.  It’s quiet, too: fewer singing birds for sure, but it’s almost as if the cold and frozen ground absorbs sound.

I moved through this landscape as efficiently as I could, keeping in mind that I was possibly on borrowed time.  An excellent winter ride.

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