These days, when I go to weather.com and check for my zip code, I notice that there is a new box under each day: inches of expected snow. Sure, I see big fat zeros for tomorrow and the next day, but the fact is, we’re in that kind of a mindset now.
Still, if I thought yesterday would be my last bike ride, I quickly changed my mind this morning. Yes, I had an early morning class and so the hour ride in would have to begin very early, but man oh man, if I can’t find time to bike today, when the sun is out and the frost will surely disappear quickly, then I may as well put myself out to pasture.
So I set out. Early. When the light is lovely at the farmette.
The sun is just up, poking through the almost bare orchard trees.
It's low still, so that there are long shadows on the fields just east of the farmhouse.
I’m cold and so I bike fast. Super fast. And I take the unattractive shortcut which cuts a mile off. As I get close to campus I think – I have time for a five minute detour. I swing toward Lake Mendota and I am suddenly reminded that this was my path for four years – along the lake, spring summer and fall – from condo to campus then home again. I stare out toward Picnic Point...
...and I allow myself this question: any regrets about moving to the farmhouse? No. I’m happy there. But there is, as in everything, a downside. There’s the obvious: the longer commute to work. No good bus connection. Okay. Anything else?
Well, this: I live in someone else’s house. No matter how much Ed tries to assure me that it is my home for life, I tend to want to rephrase that. Maybe it’s a place where he’s okay with me staying for life, but it is not mine by any stretch of the imagination. One of us is the gate keeper, the other is the resident.
Does it matter? Not at this second.
I watch a crew of workers load the Union Terrace tables and chairs onto a truck. I know, winter. Must they be so in your face about the change in seasons?
My work day is yet again very long. By the time I am out of my office and on my bike, the sun is almost set. One more little peek over the stretch of water to the west of Lake Monona...
...and it’s gone. I am very much aware that the headlight on the bike isn’t working. Spent battery. But you know, I’m spent too. The battery and me. And still, we spin forward. You sort of have to when you’re on a quiet country road. Another mile, and another...
...and finally I see the farmette with its unmistakable silo, there against the western horizon. I relax. Relieved. Home. Or, as close as I am ever going to come to calling any place home. Home.