Saturday, October 23, 2010

Biking through woods

Up and at 'em!

Get out of bed!

Biking to Fort Ben today!

Now that I'm not training for anything in particular

I can try new routes.

Explore new territory.

This route starts me off
on familiar turf.

The old Fall Creek ride south from home.

But I like this ride.

Curvy hilly roads.

Lots of color.

But now I go farther south
than I've ever been.

Turn into Fort Ben.

I'm so glad Indiana
made this old fort
into a State Park.

Beautiful woods.

Walking paths.

Birds and trees.

My picnic spot for the day
is under their shelter roof.

I watch bluebirds
drink from the fountain.

The Sycamore across the road
catches my eye.

There's something about sycamores...

they're so primitive...

Angling white branches
curving like snakes.

Brown suede seed balls
dangle between twigs.

The white bark glows
almost mystic.

Mysterious patterns of gray
look like maps to secret islands.

Leaves as big
as my hand...., bigger!

Sycamores may be
my favorite trees... least today.

Which way now?

Up to the saddle barn.

TJ and I saw a killer hill
when we rode horses here.

Someone else has my idea.

It's a photo shoot.

And such a lovely location.

Pedaling hard up the hill
I smile.

No honeysuckle here.

The woodland floor
is golden brown
with the warm rich scent of fall.

I breathe deep and happy
as the hill pushes me upwards.

A beech tree - bark smooth -
tempting lovers to carve their love.

Maybe better these days
we tattoo our own bodies
 and leave the trees alone.

I've planted several beech trees at my land.

I love their slender buds
in the spring...

...Their crisp rustling leaves
that hang on through the winter.

A beech is such a warm gentle tree

- a ladylike tree.

Then, as if I cross some magic line,
honeysuckle fills the forest!

Begone, you beast!

here at the top of the hill
(by the way, I didn't walk)
is a sweet gum tree.

Crazy quilt colors...

Star shaped leaves...

... thorn-pronged nutballs -

 - reminds me of Harry Potter
for some reason.

Sweeping down the hill now
fallen leaves
crunch under my wheels.

No time to pause
No time to...

I see a flash of light in the forest.

Slam on the brakes and take a look.

A small pond
deep in the woods
casts up a glow
from the leaf-litter ground.

I creep through the saplings.

Hushed - though no one's around to hear.

I love the gentle shoosh
of fallen leaves
at every step.

Slowly I kneel,
then sit,
by the edge of the pond.

I watch the light hover over the surface.

It's so quiet I hear a leaf fall in the water...

...and the barely-there sound
of the ripples.

I breathe deeply
the sweet smell
of a woods in the fall.

I am so happy here
just breathing forest air

listening to leaves fall

watching ripples.

I am like Stubby -
home at last -
just utterly, completely content.

I don't know how long I stay.

I know that in my long life of intense experiences

I will remember this quiet moment
in the woods.

I shake my head and spin out...

....back into the world

I stop by the guard's gate
and talk with Cheerful, the gate guard
(yes, Cheerful was really her name)

We discuss milkweed -
which she didn't know could be good...

...and honeysuckle
which she didn't know was bad.

She just likes being around green things
and hearing the birds.

I'm having such a lovely day.

Bike east of Fort Ben now
down to the main road

and whoa!

Look at that pumpkin display!

I didn't know there ever could be
so many colors of pumpkins!





And weird shapes, too.

It's after 3:00 now
and I want to get home to see TJ after school.

Should be an easy spin home now.

But when I turn the corner - OMG!
A wind whips up and hits me in the face.

The temperature drops ten degrees in a minute
and shards of rain hit my arms.

I have no rain gear

- no warm clothes -

and i'm too far out to face this chill.

So I turn onto Sunnyside Road
and pull into the nearest school.

I shiver as I call TJ to come rescue me.
- T, can you come get me?
I'm here at Sunnyside School.

- No, he says.

- What? I'm freezing out here!

No answer.
No rescue.

I'm left to shiver
under the gutter of the school.

The rain lets up and I attempt the ride home.

But within a mile the drizzle
turns into a downpour.

I dash into the overhang of a Kinder Care
 and watch the parents....

...huddle though the rain.

Some come prepared -
red umbrella protection.

Kids scurry under backpacks.

...and some just get wet.

Ripley waits -

She's used to waiting.

I wait - not so patient.

Finally Tom arrives, having dropped Nicky at IUPUI.

Heated seats soothe my spirit
as the car whooshes through puddles
and the fall colors whoosh by my eyes.

But the closer I get to Brixton
the more steam rises.

I hit the house - mad.

- TJ! What did you mean leaving me out there to freeze!
What was so important
you couldn't come 15 minutes to get me?!

 - Fifteen minutes?
Mom, it's an hour each way!
That was ridiculous!

Our eyes met.

Sudden understanding.

I was at Sunnyside school in Indy.

He thought it was the Sunnyside school
in New Castle

an hour away from Brixton

and only 2 miles
from the Jeffery Street house.


Next time I'm caught in the rain
I'll be more specific.

And next time... 
you'll ask
which Sunnyside.