“Are you going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?” – The Outlaw Josie Wales
I’ve recently turned old. I’m not sure when it started or how it happened, but everything hurts. Most of my joints, lungs, brain – the list goes on. You name it, it hurts. One look in the mirror tells me that it also hurts for others to look at me (nothing new there) but it gets worse with each passing day. Frankly, it’s annoying as hell.
Which is why this morning it was imperative that when the alarm rang out into the cold darkness, I throw the down comforter from the bed (being careful not to dislodge any cats that might’ve huddled there for warmth) and run out the door with my bike.
It was time for Dawn Patrol on the Lost Boot Trail.
I’ve been lazy recently, especially in the mornings as the winter darkness can make escape from the down cocoon problematic. It’s easy to get outside during the “heat” of the day (I use that term sparingly, it’s been wicked cold here lately), but that only works on weekends for me this time of year. Luckily the days are growing longer with each spin of the earth. Regardless of this certainty one personal truth exists: I need to get back out riding before work.
So this morning was a showdown of sorts: fat bikes at dawn. Which person would win? The 50 year old with a propensity toward whistling Dixie, or that ageless soul of a gunfighter that exists within everyone? The kid versus the aging man. Truth versus Justice. Dreams versus Reality. Sloth versus Industriousness. Metaphors spun in the wind as I pedaled to the face of the first hill, at war with myself. I squinted my crow’s feet into the predawn blue.
Just then a barrage of a snow squall pierced the air and the world fell silent as I was strafed by snowflakes. My life flashed before my eyes, suspended like grains in a snow-hourglass. As quickly as it had gathered it passed, and there I was still pedaling into the wind trailing a constellation of flakes in my wake. I swear not one of them touched me.
A wry smile crept across my face as I soldiered on up the hill, straining to keep the wheels moving through the unconsolidated snow. Just another Dawn Patrol on the Lost Boot Trail.