I had just gotten home from work. I have been feeling pretty lazy and soft lately. Sitting at my desk earlier in the day I had daydreamed of a quick ride to clear the cobwebs. Now it was 7:00pm and Ruth had asked the innocent question, unwittingly putting me at the fork in the road. There were two possible paths for the evening, now I would have to decide which to take:
- Path #1 - Go for a ride Temps were still fairly mild (33°). Sure it was wet and normal trails would be the consistency of peanut butter, so I'd be forced to ride the Struble into town. And back. Oh and yes it would be dark. And it would be lonely (wingmen in short supply on a Wednesday night).
- Path #2 - Have a glass of wine and put on some music. After dinner kick back for some board games, possibly catch some John Stewart. Maybe if I was lucky, even doze off on the couch after Sara went to bed.
"No, I think I'll just have water" I heard myself say.
A couple hours later I found myself riding across the dam toward the Struble, in the cold, and dark, and wet. Alone. But the fresh air and exercise felt great, my head was clearing and I was feeling just a little bit less soft.
On the way home is when it happened. As I crested the hill by the farm I nearly hit a deer. Literally. It just stood there staring at me and didn't make any effort to move out of my way. I hit the brakes, my wheel less than a foot from her. I moved slowly to turn off my lights, amazed that she had't bolted. She was looking straight at me and I reached out slowly. I could feel her breath on my hand, but she would not let me touch her. She slowly stepped back, cautious but also curious. I tried to lure her back, but she took a very slow meandering path back toward the treeline, never in much of a hurry, but never quite taking her eyes off me either.
By the time she was gone, my eyes were adjusted to the dark so I treated myself to one of night-riding's rare pleasures - a lights-off ride the rest of the way home.
Once again it is proven, you'v got to play to win.