Being true to my NEW schedule, I’m on the bike at 8:30 A.M. for my morning ride.
It’s been raining all night and everything is soaked, but it is not raining now. The sky is grey but clear as I begin. I watch the trucks and SUVs move back and forth across Westmoreland. White James River plumbing trucks carrying tube on their racked tops. Black and burgundy SUVs with sleepy looking drivers already on their cells pass slowly on their way to work.
I turn right and decide I will start at the north side of my journey. Crossing Patterson and past the Westmoreland Lake, the traffic is thick, so I turn off to the right on Franklin. Much better. It is a wide street to avoid the puddles and enough room to swerve the motor vehicles as they awaken to carry the doctors and lawyers and others who still work to their offices and cubicles and meetings and telephone calls and emails and more meeting. I grin.
Left on Commonwealth and up to Monument. Another cyclist goes across my path. Looks like a student off to school. A man slowly walks his dog.
Across the street on Monument was a giant holly tree. Two and a half stories high and filling the entire yard. It is cut down. Only a stump and a circle of dirt to show its former circumference remain. I will miss that tree. It was an excellent statement. I mentioned it to the former owners many times in passing to Lowes.
Oh well, things change and the house looks completely different. Time to move on.
Up to a block before Broad and left.
Down a little row of houses all together there all neat with cars parked in front. Neatly pressed lawns.
Turn left, one street down before the construction and another left. Another row of houses and cars and pot holes in the newly paved streets.
Stopping or at least slowing at every corner to look both ways. If traffic is approaching, a full stop.
This journey is an inner city travel, one block at a time. Not a long steady ride, but several sprints and hurdles. It also gives breaks to breath and examines the surroundings.
Onward to the high school and turn right then to the next block and back again.
Each yard has it’s own character. A lot of azaleas are blooming their hearts out at this time of year brightening the spring landscape. Some yards are bright green and others are over grown.
I pass several trucks with trailers filled with tree and grass trimming supplies. Black and brown men move back and forth from lawn to truck grabbing gas powered instruments and wiping the sweat from their brow. Their grass cutting machines fill the air with smoke and the sidewalks with green masses of wet cuttings.
Why cut the grass when it is wet? If you don’t cut the grass at the same time every week, it grows too tall. If it grows tall when wet, it holds the moister in and mold is created. When you cut it wet, the mower is clogged up with the moist goo and must be cleaned out every couple of swipes.
And so the conflict goes on. But guys do what guys do and they will continue to fight this battle.
Another turn and another street approaches. Sometimes coasting, sometimes hills. The hills over by Bill’s old house are tough. Up one for a block, then pause for a street, and then continue up, by the church. A drift down toward the gulley, then a sharp left, but don’t think there is a rest.
Slight incline turns into a 60-degree climb for a block. And some people pay for this experience at a health club. The idea is not to shift down and remain seated. The pace is slower but the legs can carry you up the incline. The heart beats harder. The breathing leaves the nose for the open mouth. Keep pumping. You feel the ridge as the pressures eases. It’s only a block, but it is a workout.
Next block and pass an apartment building. In the middle of suburbia there is an obvious apartment building. Now apartments are being turned into condos. Rooms that for years saw many different people paint them, live a brief existence there, and then move out for the next people to do the same. Year after year the paint would change hue but the process never changed. Do you want to make this your 30-year mortgage home? What’s that on the floor?
Up and down the streets under the huge trees and their green umbrellas. The traffic has thinned and the path is clear. One foot then the other then backs again. Not in a hurry, just a steady pace.
I’ve got time.
Back in the neighborhood and up Leonard Parkway. The canopy is thicker her. Up the hill and down the roller coaster ride to the low land.
The sound of water is always underground. Either there is a natural river or everyone flushes at the same time. No matter, it is a mark of the neighborhood.
Down pass the Curley’s house; pass the laundry truck delivering dry cleaning in plastic on doorknockers,
Riding look down at the puddles from the nights rain. As I pass there is a reflection of another world. Are they solid or a portal into another universe? What is solid pavement shows trees in this window.
Do I turn in and avoid the darkening sky or finish my trip? I press on and pump up another hill. Each street has a different feel. Some are friendly, some are more causal, and some are very, very formal. But this is Colonial Place, the neighborhood I grew up in and lived in for over 50 years.
Pass the house with peace flag and a smile. The trip has finished for today and I didn’t get rained on.
Parked the bike, remove the gloves and the windbreaker and have a drink of water. The sky is growing darker so it is time to sit down. Maybe write? Maybe play music? Maybe sit and watch the surroundings? I’ve got time.
But the butt is weary and there are other projects awaiting me.
Though the rain is cold and the damp slows me down, I’ll record some old “Basement Tapes” and travel to the PO to mail some CDs to friends in other states.
The clouds break up my Internet signal so I’ll just go in and make a tuna fish sandwich and watch some “Brigitte Jones Diary” waiting for the rain to stop.
Good night boys and girls.