Riding out the storm
The city is changed. It is wild today. And so will my ride be.
As I venture out, twisters of dust and litter haunt street corners and shop fronts. My ears fill with the roar of rushing air.
My bike and I battle the wind but cannot adapt quickly enough. One moment it rushes in from the side, the next from the front. The gusts are overpowering and I struggle to hold my path. My brow is tense and furrowed with effort and irritation. My jaw clenched.
Pellets of water are suspended in the wind - blown this way and that - until gravity (or a cyclist) brings them into touch. Rivers of rain run across my face, filling those furrows. Pressed against my arms, my red jacket is wet and cold. My gripped hands are frozen - somehow simultaneously painful and numb.
These are the times when tempers fray.
But just as boiling point threatens, I reach my turnaround point. And the storm does the same. The wind has become my ally, as it blows the dark clouds out of range.
The sun shines brightly now and I am reminded that the blue sky is always there - just beyond the clouds. I try to let that blue sky in my mind emerge too. Try to focus on where I am now and be curious about all that it brings, rather than focus on where I might wish I was.
My brow softens and my spirits lift.
Yet I must also remain vigilant - because the wind does not know we are allied and it still throws me to and fro. The sun is a hazard too as the wet road has become a mirror to our low, bright star - it blinds me. Broken branches catch me unawares and I bump and swerve around or over the debris I do and don't see.
I am relieved to turn off the road. Among the vivid yellow willow trees there is shelter from both sun and wind. My sight returns, as does the feeling in my fingers and at the same time the frost pain eases.
I approach a pond and see the reeds blown almost flat to the water - almost. Their rigid stems give some resistance to the wind; they jack up and down just above the water's surface, which reflects the now vibrant morning sky.
Two moorhens patter across the path in front of me and return to the pond from wherever they had found shelter. My eyes follow them to the water and across to a duck who is head down and tail up, it's feet sticking up into the air. Someone should tell the duck that Doris has done her worst and it's safe to look up now...
I cruise on, awoken by the exposure.