Nothing like a cold, clear Sunday morning
Just a few minutes after sunrise, I put on a bunch of layers, plugged in my ear buds and covered my head with a baclava. Then I donned my helmet and was ready to roll. I got a wild hair, however, and decided that the look would make an interesting profile photo someday. What do you think?
For some odd reason, I had the road to myself for a while. As I road along the north shore of the mouth of the South River - inside my neighborhood - I heard a cacophony of geese calls, so I decided to take a little detour into the neighborhood beach park. I knew the geese liked to winter there; I had see signs stating that even kayaks are not welcome during the November through April season lest they disturb the birds. It has been below freezing for several days, so the shore is starting to build up some ice and frozen foam that looks a bit like snow. My hope is that these birds are smart enough to figure out that going to sleep with your feet in nearly frozen water can be dangerous if the freezing gets completed while you are asleep.
As I continued the ride, I enjoyed some great tunes from the Roadhouse #206, which included some historic blues cuts from the 20s and 30s. They felt right for our current times. As I kept pumping and watching familiar scenery and homes pass, the miles fell away, and all was right with the world. Endorphins and good music is a wonderful combination for the soul. After more than an hour I came around a bend in the road to one of my favorite views on the route - Annapolis Harbor.
With the sun low in the winter morning sky, the Naval Academy Chapel dome shone brightly almost in a direct line with a stirring American flag. As you can see from the calm water, there was not much wind, but there was a little puff just as I snapped the photo.
One of the reasons I was out riding and thinking - other than the fact that I do that as often as possible - was a renewed sense of mortality. You see, one of my heroes passed away on Thursday after a hard fight against cancer. Though the word hero is often applied to someone in a different generation, Jon and I were classmates and just a year apart in age. However, Jon was one of those bigger than life kind of guys who always had the most beautiful girlfriends, wore a letter sweater with the most stars on the Yard (he had 8 varsity letters by the time we graduated) and married a delightful woman. Jon was also the kind of guy that had a lot of true friends; he would look you in the eye and actually listen as you talked. He was in terrific physical shape - until he got sick.
After thinking, riding and coming across the view of the chapel dome, I decided to do something I used to do every week, but now only do on occasion. I went to chapel and prayed some thanksgiving for having known Jon and some prayers of blessing for his lovely bride. Jon - many of us will miss you.