Spring eventually triumphs over winter around here, but it always takes the entire "fifteen rounds." It's a bout of fits and spasms, April, our most epileptic month—a bipolar mix of January and July, parkas one week, tank tops and shorts the next. Spirits that dare soar on her fair weather breeze will soon be dashed by a winter gale.
On yesterday's lovely and temperate walkabout, Bobbie and I strolled past an elderly gentleman in shorts mowing the embryonic shoots of a spring lawn. His legs were as white as the snow on Abrams, and his face bore an expression of relief. The aroma of fresh cut grass taunted my senses with great expectations of summer, which sparked a surge of genuine cheer—the first in months after a dismal winter of discontent. I suppose there is a lesson in there somewhere. In Travels with Charley, Steinbeck suggested that it is the cold of winter that gives summer's warmth its sweetness. I believe his seasonal analogy applies to issues of health as well. In a couple of days (wednesday) I will finally have surgery to repair my long postponed hernia, and I can assure you that I will never take mobility and wellbeing for granted again…nor the sweetness of living, no matter the season.
Under lavender blue skies and with temperatures forecasted to break into the mid sixties, I asked Bobbie to drop me off at Goldie's house. She has been neglected, biding the winter in a storage compound below the dam in Ridgeway Reservoir State Park. Our mountain bikes spent the winter in Goldie's living room and, given the weather, I thought it was time to break them out of prison.
Certainly, I will never be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Best Judgment. But…after carefully analyzing "Cost/Benefits," I decided to ride my mountain bike back home instead of hauling it. After a few "are you sure's," I bid Bobbie and Goldie goodbye and peddled off toward Enchanted Mesa's trailhead. I remembered that it was ledgy and steep, but thought if I took my time and was careful I could push the old 29'er without any dire consequence.
My homemade hernia truss has proven to be quite effective when cinched down to a point just short of cutting off circulation to my lower extremities—a delicate balance learned through trial and error, the "error" being "I can't feel my legs anymore." I had a phone, Bobbie had a phone, last weeks para thyroid incision was healing up nicely; what could possibly go wrong? I bungied my tool bag to the rear rack just in case (a gift from my antagonizing blog nemesis) and peddled about a hundred feet before surrendering to biped mode. Never have I been so thrilled to be gripping the handle bars of my 29'er…even if I was pushing.
Once on top of Enchanted Mesa, the trail moderates and is easily ridden. It winds through the park's piñon and cedar that abut fields of Dreams ranch lands with far views. It took a leisurely hour and a half to ride to Ridgway via a combination of trails and bike path. Pedaling along through Town Park I heard Bobbie hollering and rode over to meet up. Her meeting with a local Art Group had just let out and she was getting ready to go for a walk with fellow artist Barb. I assured her that I was fine and had experienced a great release from the ride.
I finished off the last few of a pocket full of almonds, washed them down with Gatorade, and rode the old railroad grade route back to Lovely Ouray—soul and faith restored, mind mended, and none the worse for the ride. Ranchers in irrigation waders were out in force, shoveling ditches and damming water to make it go where needed. Exuberant ranch dogs were happy to be out and about.
Another hour and a half and I was pushing the 29'er up our steep drive. Yes, I thought about pedaling it, then thought better and settled for my good ride.
Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and just let the chips fall.