TAKE TIME TO
SMELL THE MANURE
30 March 2003
And the wind has stopped.
And I had a full night of sleep.
It had been literally months since I'd taken off on a Saturday morning to go
riding out into the country. Cindy and I do the morning thing, but that's a
push-push-push, gotta-get-our-exercise kinda ride. I hadn't had a leisurely
"toodle" since winter came.
Oh there was opportunity. But somehow at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, when you have to
bundle up and it's still dark...I dunno. I just never seemed to do it.
But last night I went to sleep early and didn't set the alarm, so it was 6:45 when I
woke up. The sun was up. Sun. Real sun. And there was no wind blowing.
I started to make excuses for why I should just stay in the house and...I
dunno...play another 'lebendy-seben games of Free Cell or something, but my spirit got the
better of me. Probably leftover endorphins from yesterday. I put on a light-weight jacket,
attached the carry bag to the bike, filled the water bottle, packed up the camera, and off
What a glorious morning. Since I wasn't trying to keep up with Cindy, I traveled at my
own pace--which I discover is more often a leisurely 11-12 mph anyway. But I didn't go
head-down trying to keep up with Cindy. I had my head up to listen to the crows, watch the
egrets flying over head and dodge the joggers out with their dogs.
I had considered riding all the way out to Winters, but this would be the first long
ride of the season and I really didn't feel like starting with 35+ miles in a morning.
Besides, it's spring and in the 30 years we've lived in Davis, within stone's throw of the
lovely University arboretum, I've never wandered through it during the springtime.
The question was whether to make it a short ride or a long ride. From mile 1-3 I was
thinking of making it a short ride. But bike riding for me is kind of like drinking was in
my college years. In those days I could--and did--ingest quite a bit of booze. Walt always
told me that my problem was that I could handle two drinks, but if I drank two, I thought
I could do more (and often did). Now I don't drink, and so the maxim works in a positive
way. If I can struggle through the first three miles, I know I can do more. I opted for
the long ride.
I rode way out into the country, where I haven't been since the cold air settled in. It
was nice to see the now-familiar landmarks and see how they've changed with the season. As
I got past Rd. 96, the major road that divides the town of Davis from the
"countryside" beyond, and passed through the canopy of trees into the field
area, I was immediately hit with the unmistakable aroma of cow dung. I loved it. There
were cows in one field, sheep in another, heading in a line toward the barn for breakfast.
I rode out as far as the horse pasture, but my friends the horses weren't out yet. I
thought of going on another 3 miles to the bridge, which is the halfway point between
Davis and Winters, but I knew that I wanted to spend time at the arboretum, so turned
around and came back.
The arboretum was, as I knew it would be, beautiful. It is not like an orchard all in
bloom, since there is a wide variety of vegetation there, and each blooms on a different
cycle. But still there were trees in blossom, and poppies, the California flower, in
riotous orange. The ducks were waking up and I shared the path with groups of joggers. I
stopped to take lots of pictures, experimenting with both the macro feature (which I'd
forgotten I had) and the exposure variations which I'd just learned how to use.
By the time I returned home, I'd gone 13 miles and it felt wonderful. They say that we
aren't totally finished with cold weather, but the end is in sight and if today is any
indication, I am going to be making those week end trips on a regular basis again. It was
good to be reminded of how much I enjoy them!