Janet was surprised to learn that I took no photos during my early morning ride.
"Most of it was too dark", I replied without elaboration.
The truth is that there were several things about the ride that made an impression. A mental image, if you will. I thought that some readers of this blog might not have experienced an early morning, start-in-the-dark, chilly, bicycle ride through a rural area. If you can use your imagination for a minute, I'll tell you what it's like.
Leaving my lover all nestled under cover is like a lingering goodbye. It needs to happen, duty calls, you've really got to go, but you don't really want to leave her behind.
Rolling along in the pre-dawn darkness is both spectacular and eerie. To borrow a phrase from a Charlie Daniels Band song, the stars are like "diamonds on black velvet, stretching from horizon to horizon." The silence and limited vision are like walking into your dark house after being away. You know that it is unlikely that some stranger has broken in and come inside, but there is always that slight chance that he did and he's hiding in that dark corner.
The post-warm-up rhythm of climbing, descending, rounding corners, and adjusting pace to match terrain and wind conditions is like performing easy familiar work. It doesn't require thinking. The automatic motion of completing every climb and reaching the next curve in the road, provides a slow-burning sense of satisfaction like a job skillfully done.
On a clear day, the orange glow on the eastern horizon is like a visual trumpet fanfare signaling the imminent arrivial of some important dignitary.
The solitude is like owning the moment and owning everything you can see. With no one sight, it is like God personally hands you, and only you, this time and His creation to enjoy as His gift. You roll by every farm, every pasture, every creek, and every tree and admire them as if you went out to survey and admire the extent of your own vast empire.
Climbing a road that rises up to resist you is like having a tiny army to stoke the fire that burns in your legs. They provide all the power needed to meet the challenge and conquer all who dare to stand in your way.
When the just-before-sunrise temperatures reach their minimum and fog appears in low areas, it is like God signaled his servants, in an instant, to spread a thin blanket over the pasture. It can sleep a little longer.
Returning home as the sun leaps into the sky and light spills across the valley is like a celebration. It is a joyful homecoming, a reunion with a lover, and a hopeful expectation for what the day has yet to bring.
It's kinda like that.