Monday, March 17, 2014

In Which I Ride Well to Ring Some Bells

My bells, not solo bells, the usual bass G and A, reflect the skylight of the dining hall at Hallmar on March 16.

Sunday dawned cold and white. A dusting of snow, looking like the layer of powdered sugar on a doughnut, spread across the lawn.

But not the streets or sidewalks. Although it was cold, well below freezing, the strong mid-March sun has been beating down on the pavement for the past few days, and apparently warmed it enough so that a dusting of snow would not stick. It was too cold for it to simply melt, to the snow did what a thin layer of water sometimes does in the winter cold—it dissipated into the desiccated air.

I had a hand bell concert at a nursing home Sunday afternoon. The sun shone all morning, and although the temperature remained in the 20s, the magic of that March sun slowly nibbled away at the powdered sugar layer.

By the time it was time for me to decide to drive or ride, I was clearly going to ride. And I rode with only my light gloves and no long johns—it was about 6 miles to the nursing home, located in Mercy Medical Center near downtown. When I got there, I felt cool, but not uncomfortably cold.

Winter rides are slowly giving way to spring rides.

I must have been a bit nervous about the concert. I was to play a solo that has not gone that well in practice. Anyway, I averaged about 12 mph and got to the hospital in about 30 minutes.

That is the same times as my usual in-town commute to the MMU campus from my home, a distance that I charitably call 5 miles on my blog banner, but which is closer to 4. A speed of 12 mph doesn’t sound like much, but recall that is my average, including time at stop signs and lights and up hills—I am sure my cruising speed had to be over 15 mph. For me, that’s flying.

The concert went well. Maybe it was the extra blood pumping to my brain after that zippy bike commute. Maybe I had just messed up the solo enough in practice that there wasn’t any new way to do it wrong.

Anyway, the ride there and back was a bit chilly, but March had returned to its normal brown state, the spring snow mostly in small shady patches while the world had again turned brown where the sun was shining.

It was around 18 this Monday morning as I again rode. Again, cool—in fact, there was a brisker wind so it felt much colder. But I think that March sun still had power to warm me just enough.

Here’s to the arrival of the spring sun. Now, it if could just bring some spring warmth and spring flowers …

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