A jacket, the kind with lapels, is rolled next to a collared shirt, tie, socks, underwear. A belt to match the dress shoes, all in a rucksack. Books, pens, laptop. I methodically visualize in order to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. Out the door, knobby’s buzz through a few road turns and then dirt headed onto singletrack and rutted jeep trails, mud holes, slippery root rocky climbs. Heading to work usually a means and a transition, an empty something in between important things, but not this time. Out of the saddle loft wheels weight unweight wind it up down pitch gear switch splash come out of the woods in town.
Hung around my office until 11pm, to the end writing a little, making sure that everything is sorted out for tomorrow’s lectures. In airlock meditation change again, jersey and shorts damp and specked from earlier. Pull the bike from the locker and now into dark, lamp and blinkie up the short paved street that will take me to Northwest Hill Rd, dirt pointed at moon sliver mist, so quiet that the trees lean in from their tops to get a better listen to my tires on the grit. By the train tracks the fog is denser, I stop while crossing them to sketch the illusion that they’re the only thing, onward beyond. Short paved section, I know the grain silos and cow pastures on both sides but they’re hardly even silhouettes, then back on gravel up Cedar Hill that will end at home. Eight pitched miles, I see my breath but don’t see a car.