February 14th, 2014

dark flower

on slowly riding

I listened on my way to work yesterday to a radio essay on Radio NZ about The Great Taste Trail, in New Zealand, a scenic 140 km. bicycle trail that connects beautiful scenery with nice places to stay and good places to eat. I thought to myself how nice it would be to take a few days to bicycle a path. I like to ride my bicycle, but have very little desire to compete with cars on the roadways. Fortunately, we have a very nice local bicycle path system which continues to expand. Also, within an hour in one direction, I have the Chapparal Trail, which runs over 140 km (though it is a bit rough, being a somewhat unreformed rail trail) and 65 minutes in the other direction, one has the Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway, a 36 km. path. Neither of those has lots of cafe and quaint lodging tie-ins.

This weekend we are getting warm weather. Perhaps I will take a bicycle ride on the Bluebonnet Trail. The Bluebonnet Trail is in Plano, one town over. It's not like riding on a New Zealand plain with mountain views. It runs on sidewalks amid a power-line cut amid suburban houses.In the Spring, it's awash with bluebonnets and the other various flowers that help make Texas be Texas. In north Texas, we are a bit like Valentine's Day florists. We often use an abundance of wildflowers to make up for a lack of passionate charm like mountains or deep forest. The Bluebonnet Trail runs for several miles, and connects to other trails. Someday one will be able to ride a long way across many cities on trails that connect to this trail. But for now it's a simple ride.

When I ride, I wear a backpack with binoculars and a camera inside. I stop by the little creekway along part of the trail and watch for birds. In warmer weather, I also watch for butterflies.

I like to capture that sense of wonder and intense observation I had as a child. When I did not have a car, I could focus in extracting all of the interest in everything around me.
Somehow a bicycle enhances that skill in a way that motor transportation does not. Maybe this is a weekend to take a little ride.