DescriptionOn a good morning I enjoy a bike ride
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Today on the trail I saw the spender of the fall colors in the trees. The sky may have been gray but the leaves were a deep shade of reds, golds, and bright greens. Who would ever have thought that death could be so beautiful. I felt like I was attending the funeral of my good friend summer. Through the slight morning fog I could make out the silhouette of two large furry dogs. They were bobbing back and forth on the trail with their tails high in the air and their noses to the ground. Appearing behind them was a man on a bicycle looking like he was having just as much fun. The dogs soon approached me with no more curiosity than anything else they encountered. The man soon followed and with a smile on his face he gave me a quick nod good morning, and passed on by. Suddenly dropping down from a branch to my upper right came something black, swooping, and squealing. A crow had a warm meal crying in its claws and it was diving into the brambles to enjoy it's flesh for breakfast. The old rule of claw and fang had played its hand, and the little varmint was clearly the loser. I could only wonder as I strolled by what it must be like to be torn apart on the cold damp forest floor by the beak of some carnivorous bird. A slight shiver ran through me, but I quickly put it out of my mind and continued on my walk. On the rare occasion when the sun makes it's existence known it appears briefly between the horizon and the canopy of clouds that blanket the sky. This morning it chose to project it's radiance over the mountain peaks in back of me and glorify the already beautiful fall colors in the trees before me. The fall colors seemed to radiate their own light like a Christmas tree that had just been illuminated in a dark room. A smile came uncontrollably across my face as I took a deep breath and quickened my pace. There came a sound from the sky that has never failed to capture my attention. This sound always reminds me of my childhood years as I would walk along a river bank in the morning. Above me were a flock of geese migrating through the sky. The image of them was shrouded by the canopy of trees that stood all around. My eye's scoured the thin strip of sky that was available as I wondered where and when they would appear. In a stellar V-formation they burst into view flying low fast, and loud. The freedom they enjoy makes me envious and I long for just a moment to join them. These morning walks consist of one mile out and one mile back. On the return trip I encountered the man on his bicycle with his two curious dog's. By now the sun has nestled behind the cloud's, and it looks likely that it will rain. The man on the bike, along with the image of the free flying geese stirs in me passion to take my bike out for a long ride in the coming rain. As I return from my walk I look eastward across a massive farm field to see the cloud's mingled in the mountains and hundreds of geese converging for their descent on the open field. Some are coming in from the east and at such a distance that their formation takes the appearance of a long wavering silver rope. The east also brings the pleasant aroma of ozone on a soft wind, and the assurance of a morning rain. At this point I am torn between watching the geese display themselves in the sky, or charging after my bike to go enjoy a little freedom of my own. The decision is made by the soft rain that begins to fall on my face, and I turn from the field. Before long I am dressed in a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt, and swinging my leg high over the seat to dart down the trail with the wind and rain in my face. The cool morning air is a bit much to take initially, but I remind myself that I have never been disappointed with one of these rides. A short dirt path Leads down to the paved bike trail, and I push hard on the pedals to bring my speed up to a steady clip. Soon I am able to let go of the handlebars and sit upright in the seat. At this point my adrenaline is rising as I'm wondering how far I intend to go. Some mornings I go no further than the end of the trail. Other times I continue on the street for a mile or so until the trail starts up again. I'm driven on by my desire to reach two other destinations up ahead. One is an opening in the foliage that exposes a view of the river that stretches out for a long distance. On a sunny day at just the right time in the morning the light from the rising sun sparkles intensely off the surface of the water. I'll stop for a moment to take it all in, but the thrill of the ride soon pulls me away. The other enticement is a frost free spigot that guarantees to quench my thirst. I can't help but plunge my head and face under the cool running water, and fill my mouth from cupped hands. On my bike I have mounted two bottle holders on the bar under the seat, and I fill the empty bottles to bring some home for later. After a few deep breaths of misty morning air I mount my bike for the ride down the city street to the trail head. The trail takes me under a freeway overpass and directly toward the river then turns sharply to follow alongside it. I'm high above the water and moving quickly around the corner. As I approach a downhill grade I look through the rain and the trees to see the rapids that had recently cut a deep gouge out of the far bank. As I drop down the trail I use the slope to gather more speed and soon I am passing the rapids. Through the fog the trail zig zags around large cottonwood trees and I roll over a small bridge that crosses a creek. The river now runs on the other side of a dense forest of brambles and a large berm. The trail is a straight line for about a thousand feet then the berm drops and the river is in view again. I'm looking ahead to the end of the trip hopeful on one hand that it will never come, yet pushing hard to keep the thrill of the ride alive. The thought of dry clothes in a warm house begins to take root in my mind, but I still feel like riding as long as I can. The air is clean, wet, and cool and it feels healthy to breath in as much of it as I can. At the end of the trail is a large parking lot that is set on a slight bank. I pass my point of entry and proceed to the exit that brings me into this lot. With the momentum I have I ascend to the top of the lot and make a gradual swing to come down the other side. Standing high in the pedals I pour rapidly down toward the bottom of the lot with the wind and the rain in my face. I'm not ready to surrender to the warmth of the indoors yet so I use the speed I have to slingshot myself around for another approach. After about four or five of these I'm soon ready to consider turning for home. It's still a ways from my front door and I run through every puddle I can on the way there. At last I'm projecting the front of the bike toward the house, but something in my heart screams NO ! and I quickly turn to the side for just one more stab at it. Its a dying cry though and after a few more minutes of riding around outside I console myself with the promise that I will treat myself to this again soon. Pushing my bike through the front door I see my daughter frantically scrambling about trying to get ready for work. On the way out the door she informs me of my granddaughter's need for a diaper change, and my grandson hovers around my knees asking me if I can come play cars with him. Any hope of dry clothes is put on hold as I wish my daughter a good day and assure her that everything will be fine. The door closes and I shift gears from rain rider to grampa.