October Postcard

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Craig circulates a note every week announcing the route, easy to read the raconteur prose in his voice. This one hints something about charging our lamps, we’ll wait until the last possible moment to turn them on for not wanting to miss out on any of the coppery salmon beams shearing through slats in the horizon. In summer or even spring, our rides through here are bounded more by conversation and emotions or our effort and ebb, but this time of the year New England says something of itself. It’s the landscape and the cultural history that it encouraged that are the boundaries and beacons of the circuit.

Curlicued over the bars, cassette ticking and breeze down blacktop that was snuck in in a before winter enthusiasm of repaving. Slightest skewed nod from whoever is in front, and we turn off onto dirt, chasing our stretched shadows ahead of us. We would work less and climb this more slowly if it was asphalt, but instead we lean and heave and gulp, as if somehow to get to where we already are sooner. Some places the stutter of staggered chevrons where tractor tires labored through the clay, then a grassed double track with a stone wall more part of the woods than a boundary against it, other times just the pronounced crown of a packed road with the word hill or hollow as part of its name.

Days when we know without thinking it that we’re not anywhere else.