Sunday 12 January 2014. Embracing a Little Fear

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Missed last week’s ride because of being out of town, so did not get to test my mettle against the heavy snow and extreme cold if that Sunday morning. Most likely my mettle would have had to pass; even Velo du Jour has its limits. Would definitely have liked to do some walking through the snowstorm, however!

To digress slightly, on the night we got back, when it was at least single digits below zero with packed snow and ice on the streets, and I went out to do a little shoveling, saw a cyclist leisurely tooling past my house. When I exclaimed out loud, “Wow!” the cyclist, without missing a beat, “popped a wheelie,” as we used to say, and continued calmly on one wheel for a little while and then back down and out of sight. Was very impressed!

But back to the velo du jour. It was 30 degrees F and very cloudy at 7 this morning with a bit of a southwest wind as Rhododendron and I headed toward Meadowbrook Park.

Stopped for a shot of the apple tree, on the branches of which still were some dark, shrinking apples.

The city of Urbana had been hard at work clearing the streets, and felt reasonably safe riding them southward.

Was eager to see Meadowbrook after the snow. The paths there were mostly clear, but not without patches of ice to negotiate. Worried about ice on the curves of the downhill stretch approaching the rabbit statue bridge, where normally it’s so much fun to coast at high speed.

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But took a deep breath and went, trying to remember the little example of acting in the face of fear. Wondered whether this exercise could help develop courage for other types of fear and discomfort–loss, difficult relationships, etc. Maybe, though I bet it requires really consciously connecting them. Can well imagine a sky diver afraid to visit a sick relative.

The span of the bridge was amazingly clear and dry. So stopped there to look down at McCullough Creek, with Davis Creek joining it and running today.

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Was pleased to stand still for a moment over the creek and take in the unique appearance it presented. Truly, it’s not a spectacular place, but after many visits, noticing the small differences from one to the next can be as satisfying as noticing different sunrises. Also reminded me that one can take a view of the passage of any instant of one’s life as if standing calmly on a bridge and beholding it pass like a river. Must remember next time things get crazy.

Proceeded along the big loop, coasting over the icy spots with more confidence.

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Stopped to get some shots of old bush clover, dark against the pale twists of

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dried grass. Still love old compass plants and Baptisia pods, (dried grass, for that matter) but this year the bush clover have captured my imagination.

As I was concentrating on photographing these darker plant remains, the clouds thinned enough to reveal some blue and for the early sun to call forth a little more color on the winter prairie.

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By the time I reached the closed Windsor/Vine bridge, the fear of ice was pretty well over for this trip. There was the discomfort of cold hands, but that was a lot less about uncertainty and well within tolerance.

Realized that the lichens had not caught my attention this trip and just stopped for a look at a tree I knew had some.

20140114-105155.jpg It might be interesting some time to follow one tree, even one patch on one tree, to see how the lichens grow, develop, and change.

Realized also that I’d gotten used to, even fond of, the winter landscape: the snow, the structure of the tree branches, the wider view of the streams, of the prairie. Seems almost funny to remember the sense of loss when the colors subsided in the fall.

Driving snow or piles of it might stop a velo; otherwise can’t wait to see what the next ride will bring!

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About Velo du Jour

I am a 61 year old mom/wife, former biologist, and presently certified Iyengar yoga teacher, and I love, besides biking (and other things), nature, swimming, drawing, photography, yarn, exploring adoption themes, and putting people at ease. In April 2012, I participated in "30 Days of Biking "http://30daysofbiking.com/ on Twitter, sponsored by a group of "joyful cyclists" in Minneapolis during the month of April. I loved tweeting about each day's ride so much I didn't want to stop! "Velo du Jour" is a continuation of recording and sharing my rides post-30 Days of Biking.
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