October 7, 2008

Bird, not bike

An interesting ride to work this morning as the coming sunrise was completely obscured by thick clouds and mist. Feeling acclimated already to the upper 50s, I even left the usual cycling cap at home today. As I climbed a hill on 143rd street, overhead a multi-engine prop plane was coming into JCExecutive to land, landing lights piercing the mist overhead...spooky and surreal. I arrived at work just before a big downpour, which was lucky. It was a cold rain. Later in the afternoon, the temperature had actually dropped from the morning start, so I donned the rain jacket for a little extra insulation - but it proved too much, so I shed it before the halfway mark. The birds were gathering along the trail, which I hadn't ridden since last week. As I rode past, they scattered. Later, near Deanna Rose, I was treated to a rare close encounter with another kind of bird entirely: standing IN the trail around a bend near the creek was a magnificent Great Blue Heron, maybe the same one that was caught stealing fish from my parents-in-law's pond. As I approached, it spread its wings - easily as wide as I am tall - and took to the air with a graceful whoosh. Brilliant creature, and rare to get such a close look. I made my way up the monster hill, now covered with wet leaves making things a little slippery. Today, not a soul on the trail to interrupt my mindplay about outdoors adventure and a journey through this midwestern forest. Back in suburbia, I make my way west into a 22mph headwind, and finally turn south on Brougham for the home stretch, where I encountered a curious happening: a long line of slow moving cars was approaching from the south, all following a small terrier whose exact breed I could not identify. The dog turned towards me, I slowed, and suddenly the leading vehicle slammed on its brakes - the driver, a fully uniformed policeman, lept onto the road attempting to reign in the little 8 lb. dog. Another vehicle swerved and tried to block the dogs retreat, and a third car had its occupant emerge with a trout net, trying to snag the little pup. The dog, of course, probably seeing everything in slow motion, was quick to act and easily dodged all the attempts, turning 180 degrees and running back south along Brougham. That's where I came in. As I got around the cluster of cars and people, I continued south and realized that I could MAYBE get within arms reach of this little canine and maybe help out the cause. This little dog was TRUCKIN', seriously. I'm putzing along at 16 MPH, and this dog looks totally comfortable, claws clicking against the pavement, always holding within a few feet of my front wheel. In retrospect, I might have been driving him instead of reeling him in - but I got the honest impression that he may not have known I was behind him. Fortunately, for me and the dog, there was no oncoming traffic at this stage - but eventually, as the dog blew the stop sign at 146th Street - and I stopped, looked, waved at a Jeep, and carried on, the dog turned suddenly east up across a sidewalk and up into a field behind an elementary school. Oh well.... maybe I should have grabbed the trout net from that guy back there....
Still, it was an entertaining ride home, and the sights and little dog adventure was a good distraction from the strong headwind and cooler temperatures. The shower at home felt good.

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