West meets East

Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird

Long ride yesterday all the way out Quarry Road to 69. Long ride for me, anyway. A couple of weeks ago, I bought new shorts only to discover that they are now graded for the number of hours and days a week you ride. Mine are hour long shorts. And as I moved into the second part of the ride, I began to wonder just how comfy 2 hour shorts would be.

Just towards the end of Quarry Road, there is a nature preserve, with a boardwalk through the marshland and observation tower off in the distance. A bird on the wire caught my eye with the flick of its white-tipped tail. It flew along beside me for a bit, following the wire landing every so often, almost as if to let me catch up. Eastern Kingbird, Rob tells me when I mention the white tip on its tail.

It was been a wonderful bird day. On the dock earlier, we watched a tern circling the bay, lofting into the wind, then diving into the water and up, shaking midair, before making its climb once more.  Sometimes on the bike, I feel that kind of freedom and grace, even power.

Once the kingbird goes its way, I turn to cloud watching. And as I crest the rise back to the Quarry, the horizon opens up and I’m suddenly out west on our family farm, up on the north place. Something about the wind and the light and the feeling of an open sky.

As if on cue, a train whistles in the distance, the one sound that always puts me back in the dormer room of my grandma’s house, looking out towards the tracks and grain elevators.

The train through Coldwater crosses many small roads, and the whistle marks it’s slow progress westwards. But I’m back in the headwind now, adding more wildflowers to my list… vetch, mullein and chickory.

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