Mid-September: An Indian Summer
I’ve been refusing. Crossing my arms, furrowing the brow; shaking my head. Stubborn and spoiled. I will not do it. No. Not yet. My position here is to soak up every last warm molecule that shoots through the eves toasting my arms and legs. To sprawl out cat-style in the sun patches that still pool the ground. To gaze devoutly on every sunset that makes an orange-pink ocean of the sky.
It’s hot. The bugs are raging. It’s still summer in the PNW. I will not relinquish this, my sultry season to fall’s cool grace—no matter how elegant.
It was a rare weekend that Billy was home recently, so we headed to the hills to deliver this declaration to the gods that be.
But they needed no ornery proclamation. Right now, they’re content to let summer linger in blushing mornings, verdant hillsides and dry afternoons. So we did as we always do: pushed up the fireroad; chatted lightly in the quiet when we were side by side. Silent and pedaling alone when Billy pushed ahead to grind the steeps. Even after a magnificent summer—one full of hot, dirt-caked dreams soaked in friendship and booze—these are the rides I look forward to most. The peaceful, unobliged rides that no one else is aware of, sheltered in blog post that no one will read.
From the top, we ducked into the shifting brown-and-yellow shadows and light and pushed up higher until we reached the trail’s source.
Then, we turned and dropped into the surf.
This is where we belong. Or rather, this is where Billy belongs and I try my best to make myself a worthy component in the beautiful equation. Tinged by a low-hanging late-summer sun, the forest was a baffling display of electric leaves striped by dark, warm trunks. We rallied among the scene, bursting from the shadows into the light and disappearing again into obscurity, or what we pretended to be. We passed nature with a quick nod on some mission onward as if we had no intention of stopping at the next bend to push back up to ride that section again and again.
It’s a delicate waltz with the terrain that Billy’s mastered. I simmer in the sensations of watching him ride his bike through the woods: one artist conspiring with another. He will have this canvas for a long while still, as summer seems all but waning.
And, when it comes, fall will be even better.