Bundled

The first time this fall was so terribly and tragically painful . . . I had to bundle. And it hurt. Bundle into my Irish wool and down vest and allow my cotton-socked feet pull me out into the cold, moist air.

I ride every day possible, milking from the calendar every spare segment on two wheels. Akin to a giant ocean surfer, I feel the impending and impenetrable wall coming in behind me with frosted breath licking the back of my helmet. I ride knowing that the nature of New Hampshire will have its way. It will ultimately win. It is ruthless and beautiful and wondrous . . . this change of season.

I watch as leaves turn color and fall to the ground, as rivers slow and harden and turkeys forage on the wild harvest in local fields. I watch grasses turn from Celtic green to bleached straw and calculate the waning of daylight hours. I inhale the velvety sweet purple sugar of Concord grapes and watch my breath turn to little icy clouds of effort. This parade of seasons has wondrous moments.

I spend my winter buried in the warmth of home and hearth, waiting for the song of spring and it physically hurts. But for now, I celebrate the joy of the ride. Because it is not really the act of bundling into socks and Irish wool that is so wickedly and terribly painful. It is not riding in the shadow of that impending and impenetrable wall. My pain culminates in that grand, last, frosted moment when I park my bike and head into the fireside to wait until the winter snows have fallen and the spring sun has melted and the path is just clear enough for my two wheels.