I slept poorly last night. Maybe I felt badly after seeing the Saints score over 60 points against the Colts who appear to have moved from Indianapolis to Hapless. Or maybe I felt bad for wasting a beautiful Sunday mowing the lawn. Or maybe ten days of riding in a row has made me overtired.
In any case, I woke up grumpy and planned to stay that way. I normally have everything laid out for my transition to bike commuting. Helmet here. Shoes there. Panniers loaded. This morning everything was where it should have been but I couldn’t find the battery pack for my light. And my riding clothes were in three different places. And I couldn’t find my ID. And, I’m NEVER going to get out of here!!!!
Fifteen minutes of crabbing later, I was on Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent, and off to work. My legs felt tight despite a helpful tailwind. It just seemed like I couldn’t find a riding rhythm. Then five miles into my ride I looked up and saw something I haven’t seen since spring. A bald eagle next to its nest near Belle Haven Country Club. On a lower branch of the same tree, a great blue heron was perched like a Dr. Seuss bird. In a few weeks the herons and egrets will be gone so this was a bit of a treat.
Unfortunately, my point-and-shoot camera was not quite up to the task, but if you squint you can see the eagle in the upper right and the heron dead center in the picture, below the eagle’s nest.
A hundred yards up the trail, I crossed the bridge over Little Hunting Creek and saw a huge splash in the water. I don’t know what it was but it was hefty.
Well, all that certainly improved my mood. A few miles later at the half way point of my commute I spotted trouble in the water. Pirates! Avast! A tall ship was making its way down river across from the power plant. Once again my camera did what it could but the ship was about a quarter mile away.
You have to admit it’s pretty cool to spot a tall ship on a Monday morning. All this cool stuff was actually starting to strip away my orneriness. (If that’s even a word.)
Another half-mile up the trail and I get a splash of color smack in the face. Yes, fall is upon us here in DC and the trees are starting to turn. This one was pretty good but I know the show is only just beginning.
Now that I’d blown ten minutes stopping to gawk, I got down to the business of riding to work. My crabby attitude behind me, I made like a bakery truck and hauled buns.
In 45 minutes, I had finished the ride, locked my bike, showered and made it to my office. I got a cup of coffee, sat down at my desk and, speaking of buns, a pastry cart magically appears outside my office door. I can tell the kind hand of providence when I see it. So I bought a gooey cinnamon bun. Monday mornings aren’t so bad after all.
The day was a bit of a grind but the ride home was sweet. After about 5 miles, the rhythm returned and I was cruising along at a healthy clip into a headwind. Even a pretty nasty cloud of skunk smell didn’t put a dent in my mood. As I made it to Old Town, I saw the tall ship docked near the Torpedo Factory. I hate sailing, and I know nothing of ships (despite having attended Herman Melville’s high school), but tall ships are magnificent.
After I escaped the Beltway, I passed a man on the trail. First, I saw his poles then I saw the two monster catfish he was holding. The darned things were bigger than my thigh. I wanted to stop and take a picture – the fisherman was grinning with pride – but I needed to get home to check out the progress on the patio in my back yard. After two weeks of delays, the contractor had made good use of the day. From mud pit to roughed out patio in eight hours. Not bad Luis. Pretty good for a blue Monday.