Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last Ride of Summer

I know already that this is going to be a brutally busy week and that my riding time is going to be more or less limited to the daily work commute.  Autumn will arrive on Thursday.  Thus it was that my ride today became the last official long ride of Summer 2010.

I set out heading south on US11 with no particular terminus in mind.  The air was cool enough to warrant a flannel shirt over my tee, and nobody with whom I was sharing the road seemed to be in a ridiculous hurry to get anywhere which kept me relaxed and enjoying every turn of the tires.  Well, that was until I noticed that I was being followed by a state police car.  Even when I'm not doing anything foolish or illegal, those guys unnerve me so when I saw him back there I turned into the riverside park developed by the electric company to make the area around the nuclear power plant less ominous looking.  Those flowers hide the twin cooling towers so perfectly!

I gave Mr. State Trooper a bit of a head start and then pointed the front wheel south again to head toward Berwick which would be the next populated place with a name that I know.  On my way I caught sight of a long trailer with cartoon characters painted on the side.  The blue monkey, Shrek, and the little South American girl wouldn't have stopped me, but Sponge Bob made me double back for some pictures!

Once I hit Berwick I had to decide whether to turn back or keep going.  Berwick was as far as I'd gone south on 11 in the past and I knew Bloomsburg was next in line.  When I saw a sign indicating that it was a mere 12 more miles I figured I'd go for it.  The sky was cloudy, but the clouds weren't dark and it was still early.   I got to Bloom, as the college kids call it, in little time and while rolling down their Main Street I noticed a sign indicating that Danville was only another 9 more miles.  I'd thought for a few years about taking the scooter there someday.  Today would turn out to be that day.

Danville is the home of the order of nuns who taught me in elementary school.  The grounds of their mother house are beautifully kept and on a typical day the stillness in the air there hovers about the place like a whispered prayer.  It was there to which I'd hoped to take the bike someday, perhaps to visit the few old gals who might remember me, but today wasn't the day to knock on the door and linger in conversation.  I'd begun to get tired between Bloomsburg and Danville and didn't want to tarry for long.  So it was that I visited the sisters who couldn't strike up some chit-chat - the ones in the cemetery.

I walked the rows and found some of my former teachers, and a few relatives.  I remembered my life all those years ago when, "Yes, Sister," and "No, Sister," were the order of the day.  How simple life was then, rich in a simplicity that I wish I could have appreciated when it was all around and about me and growing up was just a vision with which I toyed.  There are times when I'm in the front of my classroom when I wish I could somehow get my kids to stop and savor where they are instead of being in such a blooming hurry to grow up.

And that, I guess, is what makes riding this scooter the joy to me that it is.  Somehow when I'm on that saddle my spirit returns for a time to those days when my biggest worry was that they might be serving "tobacco soup"  (tomato soup with rice cooked in it) in the cafeteria and that the nun would make me eat every last drop of it.  If I could trade my worries now for a big ol' pot of that gruel I would.  I'd chug the whole pot down and not spill a drop of it.

So long, Summer!  I'm going to miss you.

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