21 February, 2006 Temperature: 9 degrees F (-13°C)
My neighbor Coleman just said something to me that stopped me dead in my tracks.
Coleman is the nice gentleman who moved into the house behind mine a few years ago with his lovely wife Jessie. We don’t hang out much, because we have so little in common, but he is always friendly and talkative when we meet face-to-face.
He was walking down our shared driveway this evening when the Baron and I were pulling in, home from work. I removed my helmet, said “Hey Coleman.”
He stood there and looked at me for a moment. Then he shook his head with a bemused expression on his face, and said, “Well, looks like you made it.”
I said, “Well, it was an easy ride tonight. Nice and warm and no real traffic to speak of.”
He said, “No, I mean riding through the winter! Haven’t you heard the long-term forecast?”
“No. What are they saying?”
“It’s supposed to get into the forties next week, with maybe a fifty-something.”
“Wow”, I said. “Are you sure?”
“That’s what I heard.”
“Hmmmph.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. “Well, thanks for telling me.”
He kind of chuckled, and walked back up to his house.
The end of winter? Already? That just doesn’t seem right. Past winters have been interminable affairs, stretching on and on in a long train of misery during those years when I didn’t ride through it. It’s only the twenty-first of February… Surely the Old Man has some fight left in him? One more big storm? A few more sub-zero days?
As much as the promise of spring thrilled me the other day, I realize that I have enjoyed this adventure. Some mornings, putting on all that gear just seemed like a chore. But on those days when I was going to be challenged by the cold or the road conditions, I felt positively energized! To have something to struggle against, with well-honed skills, and ultimately triumph, is a memorable thing. That is the very definition of adventure, isn’t it?
Well, I can’t believe winter is over just yet. I’ve just checked my “Sent” file in my email account, which stretches back a couple years. Sure enough, message traffic increases around early March, when I have started riding for the last few years. By then, I am positively vibrating with anticipation. I rationalize that there isn’t THAT much salt left on the roads. A little ice never killed anyone. Er, well, at least it never killed me.
Yes, “Weather or Not” is a common theme in my writing come March. I ride, regardless. Well, this year, I think I am going to continue on the Baron until I am sure the salt is gone. There is some light snow in the forecast for later this week. Probably not enough to present a challenge, but it might make a nice backdrop for a photo shoot. I still have that magazine article to write, and there is one unmolested patch of snow at work that I can play around in for the camera.
So yes, I am excited by the onset of spring. But I am also kind of sad that the struggle is coming to an end. It has been one of the mildest winters on record, and for that I am probably fortunate. I will keep this blog until the official end of winter, on March 20th. After that, there will be another blog, but I’ll tell you about that later.
Right now, it’s time for me to get off this computer and hang out with my girls. See you tomorrow…