Early morning bicycle ride

Seldom nowadays am I out of bed before 7 o’clock in the morning.  Though it resounds of discreditable inertia and is clearly offensive to the Protestant Work Ethic, it is but the evident sequel to retirement and old age. Normally there is not a great deal that is otherwise compelling. But today we prepared for the arrival of new bedroom furniture.  I arose sharply at 6:30 am. Shamefully my motive was to remove myself as quickly as possible from the anticipated commotion.  My current condition is such that I readily acknowledge my inutility in these matters of critical strength.  Accordingly I attacked the usual ceremony of ablutions and by 7:22 am I was on my bicycle and moving. Out of the way! Besides a short ride about the neighbourhood was the precise tonic on an ideal Saturday summer morning.

The remarkable feature of the day apart from the broad slants of warm, yellow sunshine was the stunning silence. There were no motor vehicles. People were obviously still in bed or just awakening to a new day. The chirps and twitters of birds were perfectly distinguishable. Everything was soft and soothing. I confess too that being awake so early – and punctuating the novelty with such seeming gusto on my bicycle – lent an air of celebrity to my ambition.

In the old residential part of town I caught but a fleeting glimpse of a councillor as he sleepily stumbled from his back door into the inviting open air of his garden. We shared a hasty hello as I drifted noiselessly by.  Then it was back to the muffled early morning silence.

When I reached the Elizabeth Kelly Library next to which is conducted the Saturday morning farmers market there were but two or three stalls in the process of being erected. I passed by the Old Town Hall over the bridge above Little Bridge Street to the trail on the other side of the river. The quietude lingered. The falls were mere streams and trickles over the flashboards.

Along the trail on the erstwhile railway line I encountered several other early risers dutifully walking their dogs all of which (the dogs that is) regarded me curiously or with moderate suspicion as I exchanged whispered greetings with their master or mistress then proceeded silently making only a muted crackle upon the dust gravel pathway. Nothing disturbed the peacefulness. The trail was further secreted by the luxuriant verdant shrubbery and trees that align the chrysalis from the waterfalls to Carss Street.

What stunned me more than anything is the facility with which I cycled. It has been three days since my last ride. Yet it is only now that I recognize that being three-quarters of a century old triggers nascent immobility or restraint, the boundaries of which are seemingly diluted by the mere analgesic of a 2-day respite from the routine physical exertion. I felt positively Olympic in comparison to most other days when (apparently mistakenly) I engage my deteriorating knees, hips and back in a ritual penance. Today’s disclosure enhances my customary determination to rent a bicycle during our upcoming winter sojourn even if I employ it on an abbreviated schedule.

Of less energetic application we have lately propounded the ideal recipe for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich on homemade sour dough bread. I cannot begin to estimate the delight! By coincidence last evening I prepared a bowl of steel cut oats upon which I threw a handful of blueberries then lathered the whole in Kéfir fermented milk. I am beginning to appreciate that my former diet of raw vegetables and boxed cereals are not the sole answer. Not being a cook I am noticeably lacking in culinary experimentation. While I won’t say I am an old dog accustomed to the identical bowl each day, I confess I am not far removed from that limiting observation. Nonetheless the greater peril is to overlook the possibility of adjustment.  Certainly changeability is not my moniker.  But once again the discovering of minor alteration has constituted vast improvement.

Meanwhile people have come and gone from the apartment, removing the old, installing the new. I lingered on the patio in the early morning sunshine before recapturing my perch at table where I relished my crisp Granny Smith apple and grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Planning is everything!