I’d say that I only ride on this date every four years, today’s being Leap Day, the 29th of February in 2016 whose number is perfectly divisible by four - except for years which are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400 – but it wouldn’t necessarily be true because I could probably safely bet that weather-wise this is the first 29th of February on which I’ve been able to ride since I began scootering in 2007.
No winter here, folks. The gates to the park are wide open and have been through the entire season during which they’d usually be locked up tight.
Come to think of it, this has been a winter that kind of wasn’t, and that is NOT to be taken as any sort of lament. I live in Pennsylvania because that’s where I was born and raised and as a total creature of habit it’s where I’m destined to stay, but if I were more adventurous, wealthy, and more inclined to change things simply for the sake of changing them I’d move to a place where snow is a rare delight and then only as long as it hangs merrily in the air but never hits the ground.
I never get tired of visiting this simple park which gives one a magnificent view all the way across to the other side of the valley. This picture and the one below are taken from exactly the same vantage point on the scooter, but in the second I pulled in the camera’s zoom tightly to make the windmills on the mountain that form the opposite valley wall seem like they’re right in front of me.
If you’ve been here before you might have read about the gates to the county park which to me usually symbolize the start of winter, when they usually get closed and locked up, and the heralding of spring, when they usually get unlocked and opened. This year, though, they were never closed, and never locked, and I didn’t (yet, pausing to knock on wood) have to take out the snow blower except to test it in November and barely needed to man a shovel. It’s been way too big a thrill for me to ride through those gates every time I’ve checked them and found them wide open since the beginning of December!
It’s indescribably great to be out on the 29th of February soaking up a warm sunshine that’s making my spirit dance. And that’s because my spirit, which isn’t corporeal, is the only part of me that could possibly dance with any degree of grace, and that’s only hypothetical.
The buds are starting to open on the pussy willow that grows alongside my deck and the wild chives are already thickening the lawn at the far end where they pop up every year around this time. I’m thinking in another week or two I might see some crocuses and narcissuses (I think that’s what they call the baby daffodils that grow around here.) poking up in the side garden.
Although I needed the hat and the thick leather riding gloves because the wind chill was taking the delightful temperature of the sun down a few ambient degrees, I was warm enough for the ride to be totally pleasant from start to finish.
So, with all this excitement of what appears to have all the makings of an early spring, you bet that I was out on the scooter this afternoon! And what joy I was feeling as I practically flew across the roads though light traffic that beat the evening rush with a song in my heart and a Leprechaun’s early gleam in my eye.
My reflection wasn’t quite in focus in the large plate glass panel outside a local store, but the day was as clear as one might be. It would have been a great day to be up in a plane soaring over the valley as I’ve done a few times taking off and landing from a spot not far from where this picture was taken.
My birthday is in a few weeks and I recall a year when there was one of the biggest blizzards this area has seen in my lifetime that spanned from two days before my birthday right through it into the next morning and which gave us a four day spring vacation from school (that had to be made up in June). And there was another blizzard in early April on the evening of my parents’ wedding day that had their bus hung up on their way to New York City for their honeymoon, so we can’t count on being out of the worst of what winter might dish up just yet. But I am hoping with every fiber of my being that there won’t be any more harshness of weather before spring is here in full force.