Thursday, October 1

The Warm Blanket of Darkness

Piercing the Darkness

Being part of the outdoors means, at some point, allowing yourself to be absorbed by the world around you. That may occur in a hot dove field waiting for the day to start, listening to the wind blowing through a sunflower field; or cruising out on the water watching it pass by you as you take in the changing landscape, heading to the tranquility of a favorite fishing spot, waiting to feel the rocking of the boat as you cast to the quiet waters.
The ability to get out and enjoy the outdoors is only hampered by your imagination. With shotgun or bow, on a kayak, center console, sailboat, or using your leg power for propulsion, there are enough places to go and things to see, that you are the only one keeping you from enjoying the outdoors.

 When the new year began, I reviewed how much time I had spent outdoors in the previous year and was disappointed. Fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of outdoor opportunities, I needed to do better this year.

 Cycling has been my sport of choice for bettering my body, mind and spirit. Since I moved to the Eastern Shore in 2005, I have logged over 12,000 miles on local roads, exploring those quiet country lanes and wide open rural roads.

The Cone of Silence (extra points for the reference)

Riding before the sun rises, a headlamp illuminating a cone of light in front of my front wheel, I feel the darkness envelop me as I become more aware of my surroundings. Noises of animals are heightened by the stillness of the morning, and I have to concentrate my focus on the road, as my vision is impaired by the low light. As children, we are scared by the darkness, not knowing what is beyond the veil of impenetrable darkness.

As I rode in the darkness, the other day, with stars my only source of natural illumination, I thought of one of my first jobs. My shift was 3-11 pm and I walked to work through woods every day. The woods walk was about a mile and the only natural obstacle was a creek 8 to 10 feet across. Raining or snowing was of no concern, as I had the proper gear and took the same path every time. This route home, became the highlight of my day. Once I was familiar with the route and trail, with its nuanced curves and the log crossing over the creek, I began to enjoy walking out of the light and into the darkness of the woods.

My eyes would adjust to the darkness and my hearing would become hyper sensitive: I was not an interloper within this lush, green world; I was embraced by the woods and the darkness. I was merely passing through, taking nothing and leaving only a worn trail.

Just being a guest to the world around me.

Morning has Broken

This is the same feeling I get every morning and the only downside to being a witness to a magnificent sunrise as the eastern skies explode in color is that I must remove that blanket of darkness that kept me warm in the cool morning darkness: an ethereal object more beautiful than the sun.