Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Quality Thinking Time on a Snow-lit Path

The homestretch: shifting down to climb the bridge, noticing a plane in the distance.

I've been making riding through a Vermont winter work, once again. Mild weather has helped. Working from home has forced me to get outside at lunchtime, and often again after 5 pm. The darkness is/can be a hindrance, or an opportunity, depending upon your point of view. I love cross-country skiing, also, but without enough local snow, alternatives are walking and riding.

There is much to like about riding on plowed, salt-free, snow-packed rail trails. The surface is generally firm. Interaction with cars is non-existent; studded bike tires lend traction; and the few hardy souls who venture out in the dark are groups of runners and the occasional dog walker. I have the trail mostly to myself!

Senses are heightened. Since my trail is near Lake Champlain, I listen to the rhythm of waves, ducks squawking, or the distant rumble of airplanes slowing on their decent into Burlington. Snow absorbs voices; I see the bobbing lights on pedestrians long before their conversation - a momentary blip - as I roll on by, my tires crunching in the darkness. I search for the moon on a clear night, reflections on the lake, and snow-covered ice forming in bays. I enjoy the white-lighted peace symbol perched high in someone's tree or the dark lump of squirrel nests standing out on naked trees. If I'm lucky, wild creatures appear, often it seems, in threes: an opossum, fox, and raccoon, on one evening, or a fox, raccoon and housecat on another. One time an animal bolted erratically - perhaps a rabbit - ricocheting off my front wheel then continuing across the path.

I let my thoughts wander. I think about upcoming vacations - something that seems doable again, months in advance. I smile in the darkness as I rumble over the arching bridge, marking the homestretch. I think you'll be all right, 2023.

1 comment:

  1. I wish that I had the courage (and the equipment) to cycle in the dark and snow. It sounds like fun.


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