Thursday, January 10, 2013

Growth in Winter

With a foot of snow on the ground I often stare past my burgeoning hyacinths, taking in the outdoor whiteness. There are 4-foot snowbanks, people walking dogs, neighbors hiking up the street to work at the hospital or university. My current exercise consists of brisk walks with my husband to his bus stop, trudging through slush or squeaky salt-crusted sidewalks. I love the quietness too, winter's cloak concealing brown grass, absorbing sound, masking naked trees while birds sleep in or have gone south like my in-laws.

I've come to realize that winter is an obligatory cycling rest for me. I watch others, bravely negotiating single digit weather, often taking the lane on a four lane busy highway. As I waited in slippery traffic conditions one morning while driving our children to school, I point out a cyclist inching past the line of cars. It's my husband's doctor. I cringe, afraid for his safety, though I'm sure he'd proclaim, "I'm fine!" To be fair, he's commuted year-round for as long as I can remember. He has fortitude I will never possess. And as much as my brain and heart desire two wheels, winter is my opportunity to ponder, to write, watch lots of movies, peruse maps, and rekindle my bicycle-love by remotely exploring possible adventures for the upcoming warmer months.

My husband and I converse on those morning walks about everything and anything, and invariably the subject swings around to bikes. He mentioned how he's intrigued by the simple single-speed, hinting that a third bike would make his stable complete. I smile, knowing the allure of one-more-bike syndrome all too well. While I love the premise of fixie-style, a three or five speed is more practical for me, what with the hills around here, and I tell him so. Though neither of us have immediate plans to add another bike.

On the contrary, I decided one morning that the red Schwinn I took in a couple months ago that set my emotions on fire, must find another home. The passion to restore a 40-year-old rusty bike—one that didn't fit me nor did I need—finally withered and died. It makes more sense, when I'm ready, to dally with my brother's old 12-speed Peugeot, a dark blue beauty that is in spectacular condition for its age and stored in a dry shed, already mine and plum for the taking.

It's funny how some decisions become clear when viewed on a snowy winter's walk.

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