Saturday, September 25, 2010

First Autumn Ride

If you saw my last entry about the last ride of summer, there I was last weekend in jeans and a flannel shirt.  Ironically, here I am for the first long ride of the fall, but in short pants and a tee shirt.  I swear when I was a kid the seasons knew their times and places.  Back then it seemed that summer and its oppressive heat ended on that last day of summer vacation, and when school started the next morning, the temperatures were in the 50's where they were supposed to be and I was wearing a jacket.  It wasn't too many years ago that I remember taking a picture of a lone rose blooming on the bush at the foot of the back stairs two weeks before Christmas. I'm ready for autumn to get here with the colored leaves and all that, and for it to stick around already!

I set out this morning when the girls, both of whom are here for the weekend, were still in bed.  By the time I'd gotten ten miles out of the city that first cup of coffee was ready to escape and it was while tending to that that I decided where I'd head for the remainder of the morning before scooting to mom's and dad's for lunch.  I ended up having the breakfast snack I'd picked up on the potty break in a cemetery somewhere between Glen Lyon and Mocanaqua that I visit now and then simply because it's wonderfully peaceful there and a nice stop on my way south.

When I got to Mocanaqua I crossed the river to Shickshinny and retraced part of the route I took last weekend.  I'd remembered passing by a boat launch access road last weekend, but I'd been rolling too fast then to stop because the traffic was somewhat heavy and the road kind of appears out of nowhere.  Today, though, I had US11 to myself and I noticed the access road with plenty of time to slow down and make the right turn.  There were a good number of boat trailers there with it being such a beautiful day and all.  The sun was shining, the river was calm with only a breeze stirring the surface gently, and the only thing missing was the color show on the trees which were still mostly green.  I plan to head back when the oranges and reds pop out because the setting will be perfect for some delicious autumn pictures.

I was going to make mention of "Indian Summer" up there and then didn't in case there are some who'd lament that I didn't call it "Native American Summer," but then, after writing Mocanaqua and Shickshinny, it doesn't make much of a difference because the Indian heritage of the valley is inescapable with the Susquehanna running its length, punctuated by places bearing the names that its original citizens gave them.  Though my ancestors all came from Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s there's a warm connection to the valley's native citizens who forged the trails which are now our main roads.  When I'm out in the middle of nowhere on the cycle enjoying the natural beauty of this little piece of the planet I sometimes imagine that it's not all that different than it was a few hundred years ago when the valley's original settlers savored the same sights that grace my own eyes now.

Between then and now, when I'm miles from the house with nothing around except what God Himself made, only my horse is a little different.

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