Blustery Day

And above the roar, the din of branches sweeping across the roof, skittering, wind-tossed in reckless abandon. And where was the wond’rous day forecast, the last day bathed in sun? This was the manner of the morning come: a moment of clarity as the light peered over the edge of the horizon, then a soft breeze before the onslaught of gusts, blustery clouds darken the sky and all is gray, the air thick with furious winds.

Moment by moment the ceiling grows lower and thicker, and the sun shows no sign of emerging today; to the south I can see skinny atmospheric trails dangling from above, wispy lines dragged along like a reluctant child by his mother, skimming the tree line along the Missouri River.

I pedal into the wind, down through the first hills and onto the river bottom highway. These roads are usually quiet and without traffic but on this day leaves and limbs and debris are airborne; a flag strains at its ropes, the pole bending under the burden and the fabric is stretched out to the fullest, parallel to the ground below. Above the whole bottom land valley, indeed, the sky seems pregnant; I wonder if it will rain or sprinkle, or maybe even snow. The ragged skirts of sullen cloud and the bleak wind are suddenly silent and I enter a vortex as my journey — mercifully! — turns, and my back is to the wind.

Do you have any idea how fast you can ride with a 30 mile per hour tail wind? Or how much drag is in evidence when you are pedaling directly into the same?

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