In case it rains in the afternoon, I ride my bike up the road this morning. It's perfect weather now, with a soft summery breeze still damp from the rain last night, and fresh smelling, blooming phlox, wild wood geraniums, columbine, and ferns.
A half mile up the road, a bald eagle swoops down and circles back across the river, scouting the fresh killed racoon, that already appears to have been dined on. I swerve around the carnage, and look into the clear, flow of the water of the stream beside the road now. Because I ride this way everyday, I know every curve and twist of it. I have it memorized.
Next, I come to the circle curve, by Mary Lee's place, and now I'm high above the river that
has gone straight. I call this the Zuider Zee. I've never seen the Zuider Zee, but I pretend I'm
in Holland now, and there are some black and white cows on the polder. The river bank is straight along here, and grassed. It reminds me of a dike. I decide I don't have time this morning to ride all the way up to the abandonned blue school bus, with its faded, hand painted banner "Amnesty" and "Let Freedom Ring". I usually like to ride up as far as the Let Freedom Ring bus, but not this morning.
Instead, I turn around at my favorite bend in the river, where there are rapids and open sky and clouds reflect in a smooth elbow of the flowing West Fork. I also see remains of a dead gray cat have nearly disappeared now, two weeks since I first saw it dead, beside the road. Dead animals are a sad fact of country roads. Once, when Ursula was still riding with me, in her seat on the back of my yellow Schwinn, we came upon a cow that had fallen out of the woods, down the shale slide, and rolled upside down into the ditch.
She was struggling. We rode to the next farm up the road, and told the farmer. That was so sad, and happened over 30 years ago. Still, I remember that cow every time I pedal by that place. And I miss my little, heavy bike passenger!
Maybe this afternoon I'll head up the road again, and see what's new.
(also, some colors of cotton and linen I'm looking at, and of course, my peony in full bloom!)