Lately, I’ve been mentioning some changes in my daily rides. Of course, there are other changes having just moved across the country.
First and foremost. My home is the South. It will always be my rock to lean on, a friend I am most familiar with. It has its own personality, but one that is so often misconstrued and manipulated. My past few weeks here have reminded me that the people are its most precious commodity, all else is second.
Too, the cicadas and fireflies have greeted me several weeks earlier than the past few years. What a difference a small change of latitude does to nightly events. The lightening storms have rocked our humble abode many times as well. I could count on my fingers how many times a storm like that happened around DC in my time there. These (almost) weekly occurrences have forced the trees to become strong at their base to be able to bend and not break, I’m sure of. I however am still getting used to the greenery around Birmingham compared to the Beltway. In many instances, most of my rides end up being on roads that remind me of Oak Alley or what my 2 yr old son says, “tree tunnels”. I like it.
One of my closest friends, humidity, always makes an appearance. I’m not sure why I love it so much. When I describe it to folks where they don’t usually experience it, I always tell them that it is like a warm blanket. Probably not the best analogy though I admit. It is nearly 90% each day and nearly 100% in the mornings. Like an old friend, we seem to get each other and have the same relationship as it once was.
Hindsight can’t help but be close to 20/20. In many ways, I never got used to the concrete jungle in DC. I was never quite at rest even though I had a terrific church family and epic cycling community. However, the experience there was undoubtedly spectacular for my career and developing social skills I lacked. In some ride thoughts last week, I was thinking how this Southern boy got a swift kick in the ass when moving to DC. The Beltway taught me how to get around on my own two legs, to figure out how to get the job done even though often times it wasn’t entirely the most popular or easy choice and certainly not what I was used to. At the same time, I thought “every Yankee should live in the South and vice-versa”. Society-speaking, these two worlds don’t often collide in the most positive way and that’s really too bad. We can learn a lot from each other.
I continue to be amazed of what transitions I am making but also how easy it is. Picking up where I left off is odd at times. Per usual, I only notice these changes on my long rides where I can replay recent events. Per usual again, it’s by riding my bicycle that I think most clearly. Until seeing my last change, I plan to lean, turn and pedal my way over low mountains and green valleys in the deep South.