Yeah I did. I guess maybe it's time.
I've spent months (maybe years) in kind of a daze. Without going into any detail, let's just say things have been...vastly different. Life as I knew it has pretty much gone off the cliff and now everything has changed. But I'm not going there today.
Today I'm thinking of other things. I'm thinking that the sun is out and the frost is melting off the grass. At long last, I can finally see enough of the grass to tell the frost is melting off. It's still too cold this early in the morning to drag my old joints out for a ride on the Trek but there's hope for noon or so. With any luck, before the phone rings with the little voice from Crew Management on it wanting me to haul another train load of Canadian Stuff south, I can clip in for a short one. There's still a ton of salt on the road and some of the potholes could swallow a Smart Car but if I don't start somewhere...well, I just won't start. But I probably should at least finish this before I start something else...
It's been one hell of a winter. I've burned most of a medium-sized forest trying to keep warm since roughly Thanksgiving Day. The pipes froze a couple of times. The pipes never freeze in this house...or so I thought. The west wind started up at some point and turned into a shotgun blast straight out of the Ninth Circle that kept going for days on end. It was one tough fight but after blowing the thermometer down into negative numbers so low even the dogs wouldn't go outside, that miserable wind finally worked its way through the wall and into the PVC. This in spite of the boiler in the basement that glowed and sizzled constantly in defiance. Don't even talk to me about the holidays. I almost thought it would never end.
There wasn't even much snow most of the time, just cold. I could live with snow. You plow it, shovel it, bitch about it but it's pretty when the sun comes out. A clean snow covers up the dead leaves, mud and unfinished projects. It makes you squint out the window and blink away tears that might be from other things and think of sled rides and snowmen.
But the cold gets in your head and just sits there. It's dark like the days and unrelenting as ice itself. Even when you bury yourself in the covers, you know it's out there tapping on the siding, looking for a way in. It snaps the rails just for spite and dares you to touch a grab iron with your bare hand. It hates you. It hates everything that lives or moves. Its only ally is the northwest wind, that miserable hammer and nail that drives the cold right down to your soul where it can freeze the hope out of you. It hates hope too because hope is a precious thing and bright...warm but hard to hold onto when the Clippers scream in. The Bean-shìdh wind and Dante's ice gang up on you and try desperately to tear out what little hope you have left for spring days. No...winter and I will never be friends.
But today is early April and the woodpile is getting a reprieve. I've been out riding a little over the last few days when it gets warm enough for my fingers to work the shifters. It feels pretty good to move again even though the Man With the Hammer hangs close on my six this time of year. I think he's related to the cold and also hates me but at least I can fight him with only a sandwich and a water bottle. I think he'll fall behind as I get my legs back and with any luck, he'll get on somebody else's wheel and leave me alone for the summer.
Sooner or later, it'll rain enough to wash the last of the salt off the road too. Like I said, I can't stand putting the only good road bike I've got out on it but I can't wait all year. The DOT guys over-achieved spreading the stuff and every truck going by kicks up clouds of brine dust that coats everything. Even my water bottle is a salt lick. Riding shouldn't taste like an eight hour shift in a Morton plant unless it's sweat running out from under your shades. Patience Wayward...patience.
Patience and hope. So hard to find after such a long time and so many dark, cold weeks. I'm left with days I can't think about and days I can't think at all. Those are the long shadows of winter that always follow along. Like my age, I can't ride hard enough or far enough to outrun them so I just ride.
So for today and other days, I'll ride a little and perhaps write a little. We'll see. Maybe it really is time after all.