Given that we moved back to Chicago in February of last year, we were fortunate enough to miss more then half of winter. So this past one was the first we’ve had to slog through in its entirety since 2000-2001. And shit, no matter how you slice it, living under that nagging settlement of grey isn’t all that agreeable, is it?
Today, at last, it seems, like winter is finally losing its toehold in dramatic fashion. Sure, we’re condemned to get hit with a few more days of blustery drabness, but today seems like spring’s official overzealous introduction. Spring! Catch the fever! Here’s hoping that we get some payback for last year’s inordinately chilly ass (and wet!) spring and summer.
My bike and me went out to greet our newfound spring this morning- to feel that sweet, embraceable warmth and to test our lungs. After finally locating my helmet buried in a closet amongst discarded and mismatched gloves and properly inflating the tires (an act that I've always found to be intensely gratifying, so should you need inflating, I'm available), we headed south, into strong and persistent winds up from the Gulf of Mexico that caused us to shift into lower and still lower gears. We saw middle-aged men playing tennis with their shirts off, skin frighteningly razor-burn red and distressingly gelatinous. Inspired, we peddled even harder and felt a tightness in the chest and our legs, oh, how they trembled so- all those hibernating muscles so long neglected and suddenly put back into service. But still we went on, past empty harbors hungry for boats and polo clad retirees practicing their golf swings. A man passed me by on his bike. He was large and his legs were thick like tree stumps. I couldn’t keep up.
And then we couldn’t go any further. We turned around and my back became a sail for the wind. My bike creaked and squeaked and yet never once slipped out of gear. I noted new rust on the handlebars and the spider web cracks running through the handgrips.