Monday, April 25, 2016

Springtime Reality

Two weeks ago I joined 7000 cyclists for the Emerald City bike ride. The attraction? An opportunity to cross the new SR-520 bridge - the world's longest floating bridge - before it opened to traffic. Perhaps cars would have been safer to navigate than 7000 men, women, and kids. Lots of kids. 7000 cyclists at vastly different skill levels.

The first half mile the crowd was so thick, the pace so slow, only the best cyclists  were able to ride - those you see at stoplights balancing the bike at a standstill without unclipping from the pedals. The rest of us walked our bikes from the University of Washington parking lot, across the Montlake Bridge, and there began to ride.

The 21-mile ride included not only the SR-520 bridge, but also the I-5 Express lanes, and the I-90 tunnel. Definitely a unique ride worth the crowds.
Last Saturday I rode alone. 32.7 miles from University Village along the Burke Gilman trail to the Sammamish River trail and on toward Red Hook Brewery. But no beers for me. I had to retrace those 16+ miles and I knew I couldn't do it with beer, cider, or anything else weighing me down.

32 miles isn't much. It isn't a century, my goal for this summer. But then, it's still April. Seattle biking season doesn't usually kick in this early. At least not for me.
I judge spring by the lilacs. My only child was born with the lilacs. As I grew bigger and bigger, as the days dragged beyond my due date I watched the lilacs in the large yard surrounding our tiny rental cottage. When Erin finally made her appearance on May 17th, my husband cased not only our yard, but the entire neighborhood, arriving to my hospital room his arms full of fading lilacs for the two of us.

When we bought our home, we dug up that lilac bush from the side yard of the rental property and transplanted it in our own new yard. Each year it blooms bright and fragrant beside our small table in the front yard.

This year our daughter will be twenty-seven and already the lilacs are in bloom. Spring arrived early. Yet I remind myself it won't last, I mustn't let the return of the gray drizzle depress me, I must get outdoors when the sun shines because its return is unpredictable.
The weather dictates my use of time. While time is still limited by my spring quarter teaching assignment, I ride in the sun and write when it rains. I suppose one could argue that makes me neither a dedicated writer nor cyclist. Perhaps. But such is my springtime reality.


Mindy Halleck said...

Okay, now I'm motivated to get off my writer's butt and go get some exercise. Damn you, Arleen. :)

Jan said...

Lovely post Arleen. I love lilacs but I'm severely allergic to them!

arleen said...

Thanks to both of you for sharing your comments!

Mindy - sorry for the motivation! But you know as much as I have to push myself some days to get on the bike, I never regret doing it!

Jan - that just makes me sad. The fragrance is so lovely!