The sudden skid to a stop brought with it an equally sudden awareness of myself and surroundings. How long had I been on this road? What did that sign say?
The ride was a simple one—head out the back door and put on some miles. No plan, no direction, no time limit, no…complexity.
Several things had been on my mind that needed quiet space and a chance to process. Tensions had been building, stresses had become overgrown, questions were lingering, and anticipations were beginning to find foothold. Deadlines, timelines, workloads, schedules, projects, side-projects, planning, family, work, travel. I couldn't remember any of the ride since the turn off from the county road.
I was now standing by the side of the road wondering why a narrow driveway accompanied by a half-hidden sign had resulted in my standing by the side of the road. A quick glance each direction showed no cars, people, or stray animals for miles, so I spun around and pedaled back toward the modest entrance in question. Is this private property? Will I get yelled at for being in here?
It turned out there was no one there willing to do any yelling. The driveway led up a slight incline to a small hilltop cemetery with at least 20 occupants (several of whom had been there since the 1700's apparently). Heavy sunlight radiated off both the driveway and the well-kept grass, and I was reminded of how uncomfortably hot it was, now mid-day.
Heavy brush defined the quiet space on all four sides, with one small exception near a shady corner just up the drive. I coasted over, attempting to cram both self and bike into the little scrap of shade. I wondered if I remembered to pack an apple…
The view down the hill that awaited me at this inconspicuous corner was a surprise to behold—so much so that I spent the next ten minutes trying to get the right picture, and completely forgetting about everything else. I finished my apple (glad I had packed it) and a few handfuls of trail mix before hitting the road. I still had several hours before dinner.
Several Hours Before Dinner
oil on wood panel
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It was in Wyoming that I cut my teeth riding and racing singletrack. Many hours behind the shop counter paid for this habit. At some point along the trail the landscape has become a very integral part of who I am and let me tell you, many evenings and weekends have been heartily consumed in this process. I enjoy learning, painting and drawing, math, science and technology, and being outside on two wheels. And also delicious dark beer. Yum.