It’s still dark at six-thirty this morning and the dial on the back porch shows fifty degrees. I put on two shirts and a light jacket and load my bike into the car and head out the two miles to the church lot where I’ll meet my riding partner. He’s right on time and by now the sun is up and long shadows are everywhere and the last of the morning mist floats above the lawns and fields.
We know our route and in a few minutes we are through the tunnel and out of suburbia and onto country roads following the creeks through mountain hollows. I am thankful for the jacket at this point. In the shade and on the downhills the morning is still brisk. On this early holiday morning there is almost no traffic and we sail along the smooth pavement, by turns looking into the sunrise, the still green mountainsides and the clear, still streams mottled in shade beneath the sycamore and birches that line the banks.
In many ways it is still summer. The minnows dart freely in the warm creek and we see goldfinches rise out of the tall jimson weeds and bounce on the warm air as if suspended on the sunrays. But those tall weeds are nodding now. Bending with their own height and the message they are getting from the ever shorter daylight. In weeks this fierce greenery will go brown and then disappear.
At the top of one rise we stop to allow me to take the photo posted above.
Stationary now and in the full sun I feel the familiar heat and I shuck the jacket.