A Short Story

I woke this morning just as the sky was beginning to fade from the darkness of night to the shade of gray that precedes dawn. As the haze of subconscious lifted I realized Zak was still lying in bed next to me. I nudged him gently with my elbow to ask him if he was planning to swim this morning at the lake or not. The color of the sky lead me to believe he’d overslept.

He confirmed my suspicion when he said it was 5:50 and then proceeded to roll over and go back to sleep. I sat up and said quietly that I was going to go for a bike ride as I slithered my way to the foot of the bed.

I dressed and headed downstairs to forage for something to take the edge off the earliest inkling of hunger and hold off the savage beast until I returned from my ride. I sliced a kiwi and stacked it like a deck of cards, enjoying each card and it’s furry edges as I filled my water bottle and moved the cutting board to the sink.

Kiwi Stack

It occurred to me as I was preparing to head out the kitchen door into the garage that I’d originally planned to do yoga this morning. For a moment I let myself entertain thoughts of changing from my bike riding gear into yoga clothes and staying home to do yoga as scheduled. My mind then leaped forward to the bitter cold and snow filled days that will be here soon enough. A sea of mornings lie ahead to stay inside and do yoga. Reminded that my days of bike riding will soon be over until the spring, I stayed the course and left to ride.

I listened to the mechanical clicks of a the garage door as it lifted and walked my bike out onto the driveway. I was greeted with a beautiful sunrise and air so perfectly cool and crisp it practically begged to be broken and disturbed by a woman on her bicycle.

Driveway Sunrise

I wanted to capture more photos of the sunrise. It was so moving that I wanted to remember it in more than just my minds eye. Taking pictures seemed to cheapen it, but it didn’t stop me from stowing my camera in the small bag under my bike seat. I set a course for the east end of the subdivision, beyond the houses and trees to capture the rising sun with my digital eye as it rose between the clouds and moved above the horizon.

Other end of the Subdivision

I rode through my suburban neighborhood and stopped where the pavement ends near the newer homes and construction. I’ve noticed the dirt road that extends beyond the paved road and on a whim decided I would explore it further, like I might have as a child on my bike before I knew about maximum heart rates and calories burned.

Dirt Road Sunrise

The dirt road ended in some brush and I turned around to continue on my way. Exiting the subdivision and heading into to town toward the commercial district, I watched the sky transform from red and pink as it filled with yellows, oranges and blues.

I was glad to see other people walking and running this morning. I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one awake and outside enjoying this perfect start to a new day.

There is no denying that the season is changing and autumn continues to inch ever closer. Although the wheel of the year never stops turning, the change of the seasons is more evident at certain times of the year than it is at others. I was brought back to this time three years ago, awaiting the impending arrival of our second baby that we now know as Maxine. With Zak’s help I had just made what I believed and hoped to be the best decision I might ever make; to choose the fork in the road that led to leaving a promising career as a computer programmer to stay home and raise our children.

As I approached the large grocery store I made an impulsive decision to turn into and coast down the large sloping parking lot, following my child themed ride for the morning. I noticed three old women walking together toward the store, well before the parking lot, leading me to imagine they had walked together from their near by homes for coffee and to enjoy each others company early on a Wednesday morning.

I breezed past the entrance and watched a woman exit the store with a grocery bag full of packaged food. I observed without judgment that it looked like she had bought candy and some baked goods. Without of course knowing exactly why she bought what she did, it reminded me of a life I once lived, just two short years ago using sugar and refined carbohydrates to find comfort and solace. What was it that lead to me to these feelings of disorder and stress? What drove me to make poor food choices again and again? Oh. Right. Zak in a new demanding job that left me home alone for long hours with a toddler and an infant. As much joy and wonder the girls bring into our lives, caring for small children can be both physically and emotionally taxing. Chocolate covered pretzels and everything bagels were my escape.

I made my way out of the parking lot and down a busy main road. Instead of my usual route I veered off course once again and rode through a neighborhood I’ve never been into. How many times have I walked by the people that live inside these homes and are a part of our community? In the aisles of the grocery store, at the post office, the library? Folks on their own journey, living their own stories that we call our lives, fighting their own fights.

I checked the clock on my bike a noticed I’d been gone for 45 minutes. Based on the landmarks I knew from experience that I was about four miles from home. I set my course for the house to let Zak get on his way to work.

A mile and a half from home, I passed under a large tree whose branches reached over road. At that moment three drops of water fell to my face. Two on my cheek and one on my eye lid. I briefly thought the breeze must have blown a few droplets of water from a leaf into the air, by pure chance landing on me instead of the ground. A few more cycles of my wheels and I quickly observed that those weren’t drops from a leaf at all, they were drops from a cloud. It was starting to rain. Heading west now with the sunrise behind me, I realized gray clouds were moving in and now muddying the colors I’d appreciated barely an hour ago.

The rain remained light but picked up in intensity as I grew closer the house. I contemplated how I might best capture a photo to the end of the story I’d weaved for myself this morning. A beautiful sunrise and morning ending with the rain slowly soaking the grass and the pavement.

Rain Soaked Sidewalk

I smiled when I realized we’d sat here barely 12 hours ago, watching ants attack popped corn that was now no where to be found. No human moved those kernels, I’m sure of it.

Inside to change out of my rain and sweat soaked clothes, Zak and I talked in hushed voices about the events of the day that just passed and those of the coming day as well. We moved downstairs to have breakfast and coffee together while the fruit of our loins continued to sleep.

I laughed to myself when I took my breakfast out of the fridge with child-like anticipation, realizing that I still and will likely always find joy and comfort in food. I’m grateful though that I’m now better equipped with the knowledge to make healthier choices, as well as more self-awareness to be mindful of the reasons breakfast delights me so.

Happy Breakfast Cookie

The morning rain has already passed. The girls are rousing from their slumber and now it’s time to begin another day together.

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23 Responses

  1. THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Thanks for taking us on that bike ride too! I feel so refreshed, really!

    your sunrise clouds were so lovely! I love that, when you can capture it…and yes Autumn is almost here..I can feel it with every breath….it’s been weeks and It’s helped me to appreciate Summer’s end, a few more bbq’s and evenings out side with JJ…. because all too soon it will be dark when i get home…boo

    (yes and more time for yoga)

    Thanks for sharing your morning with us!

  2. Thanks for writing this wonderful entry. I read it while at work and it instantly relaxed me and helped me to rememeber to appreicate the small things that happen to us everyday. This was truly a beautifully written piece.

  3. I almost felt as if I were reading a Nicholas Sparks novel, except no one died, and it ended on a breakfast cookie.

    • “no one died, and it ended on a breakfast cookie”!!! Excellent summation and amusing to boot ….love it

  4. AWW that was so adorable! i loved reading that!

    waking up to that morning sky is pure perfection! :) take full advantage while you can girl!

    http://saladdiva.wordpress.com

  5. What a lovely story and a lovely life! Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is an amazing post! I love your writing!

  7. Thanks for taking us on your bike ride! I so enjoyed reading this, and I could relate to so much of it…

    And your pictures are breathtaking! I love how blogging allows you to “preserve” just a little bit of each day…

    Happy Wednesday! :)

  8. Now I feel guilty for sleeping in! :D Loved reading this post.

  9. What a lovely post. I felt calm and happy reading it – I was in a happy and contemplative mood like that this morning watching the sun rise over the Mississippi.
    I’m so glad you had a giant breakfast cookie awaiting you at the end!

  10. beautiful pix. that kiwi is super duper fuzzy.

  11. You’ve found your next career I think, Ali.

  12. You are a beautiful, beautiful writer. I honestly felt like I was with you that whole time. Amazing.

  13. Hi Alison,

    What a beautiful post. I so enjoyed sharing your morning bike ride. But now you’ve made me regret skipping my morning sunrise walk by the lake :-(. Oh, well, there’s always tomorrow…

    Libby

  14. WOW!!! Fantastic post! I felt like I was right along with you on your ride. You certainly have a talent for writing.

    Glad you didn’t get too wet in the rain. :)

  15. I’m crying. That was beautiful.

  16. What a great story! I felt I was riding right along side of you and brought back the inner child in me. I have to go on a run now because unlike you I hit the snooze for an hour this morning. I am so lazy!

  17. Love this post…I felt as if I were right there on my bike in the very early morning. The sunrise photos are gorgeous! You really captured the beauty of the morning…*sigh*…absolutely amazing!

  18. beautiful post alison ;)….it is a good thing you decided to take the bike ride this morning…best to get out there while you can. thats what i love about being outdoors and surrounded my nature- it makes you think about everything. freeing feeling, dont you think? anyway- i owe the juicer purchase to you- thanks for getting me into this- actually i think i should thank you for introducing me to overnight oats and the breakfast cookie. am i becoming you or something? i guess copying is the best form of flattery right? haha anyway i just made two different juices and stowed them away in the fridge for tomorrow and days to come- how long do you think i can keep them for before they go bad?? also- interestingly enough i have a breakfast cookie chillin in the fridge right now waiting to be attacked post run tomorrow morning ;)

  19. if a bike ride makes me that reflective and thoughtful, then heck i need to get on one asap! that was such a beautiful post :) you always bring a smile to my day, but this was a much different, equally as appreciated smile. thanks!

  20. I want you to know just how much I enjoyed this post. It was soothing and calming to me. Like I could see everything through your eyes. Thanks for making my evening all that much more relaxing :D Lovely, truely lovely!

  21. HELLO. alison, you could write a novel! you have such a way with words :) very nice and flowy<—not a word, i know. and for some reason that kiwi photo is fabulous to me.

  22. I’m just getting around to commenting but ironically enough I read this over a breakfast cookie last night. Yeah, breakfast cookie for dinner, so what? But really, you are an excellent writer and this was beautifully done! I really enjoy taking part of the small things, like watching people walk together and imagining what their days are like. It’s so nice to spend those extra moments doing such things. I’m glad you had such a great morning to reflect, relax and get in a good workout, too. More posts like this!

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