The previous weeks of heavy snow have had me housebound and chafing to get outside. It seemed as though every single February promise of even remotely fair weather disappeared into an evening of parent-teacher conferences, huge winds, more snow – something. And just how long has it been since I’ve trekked along these rural Missouri roads on an early morning ramble? Weeks? Months?
Friday afternoon, classes released and Spring Break began. Students headed out following all points on the compass – but mostly south, I suspect – whereas we are at home these next ten days, victim to the prevailing economy; we shall enjoy lunches of lentils, free visits to the art museum, afternoons filling my sketchbook. This is what has come to be known as the “staycation.”
I love to travel to far away places, to hear voices engaged in conversation – tongues I don’t remotely understand, meet people whose experiences contrast with our own. Drink Guinness in Ireland. Or Beaujolais in Paris. Fish and chips in a Scots pub. “Meat pies” on a beach in Belize. I love to amble through neighborhoods of houses that are hundreds of years old. To gaze upon mountains and valleys, look through the fog and mist and peer across the waters of distant ocean. To walk across the moss-covered floor of a wood so quiet that every snapped twig sounds like a rifle shot.
At the very least, I long to be out in the morning on my bike, when the rest of the world is still snuggled in bed. Birds only just discovering the new day. Dew still fresh.
Yesterday I managed to get in a ninety minute ride. I headed south, leaving town as quickly as possible, bundled in layers and hoping to shed a few as the miles began to tick by. I got only as far south as the Missouri River. A slight wind was coming up and the temperature seemed to have an equally slight chill. Looking to the southern sky I realized that I would soon get wet – and thus, much more chilled – if I didn’t immediately turn back to the north.
Dreams of a quiet morning just riding around and exploring what the winter had wrought upon familiar country lanes were quickly dashed. I circled back toward town.
Clocks were sprung forward this morning. Fog blankets the view out my back window and I wonder if I might get in a short ride before the promised thunderstorms evolve into more snow this afternoon. The weatherman calls for nicer days later this week.