Every so often on my bike commutes I encounter something rare and I have to stop to check it out. Today was one of those commutes. I was cruising along in the drizzle of a gray November morning. I am sure that the folks in the cars on the parkway next to the Mount Vernon Trail were thinking, “Those bike riders must be miserable. Or nuts.” Well, setting aside my sanity, I can attest to the fact that I was quite comfortable. The temperature was near 60 degrees. I was wearing waterproof pants and a waterproof windbreaker. My feet were dry even though my shoes were not. I had slipped my stocking feet inside two plastic bags, the kind that the newspaper comes in. I had on my super duper water resistant long finger gloves. Basically, I was every bit as comfortable as I am on most sunny days.
So in my be-drizzled comfort, I was spinning away when a splash of color caught my eye. At first I saw a young red maple along the trail that was showing it’s autumn stuff. Then right next to that little tree was the fabled balloon bush of Washington. I have heard old folks say that the balloon bush blossoms only once every 50 years. It’s blossoms of red and white balloons appear on the northwest side of the bush and only last a day or two. They say the balloons can be seen only by the certifiably insane.
It’s one of nature’s great mysteries. Really, I stopped to take a picture. Please tell me you see the balloons. And tell the guys in the white lab coats to leave me alone.