Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, March 27, 2006


This week brings Spring in earnest to this quarter. I might defensibly hope that this morning, at 26 degrees upon waking and 31 degrees at departure, may represent the coldest morning I will have to endure on two wheels until sometime next fall. But I cannot hope, regardless of the temperate forecast, that the temperature will not bob around to an extent defying even layering. In the spring, on a bike, one carries almost as much as one wears, never sure.

Today, leaving the office a bit late at 6:30-ish, using the lights in the twilight from an abundance of caution, I wore less home than I wore to work. This morning: skullcap, full-fingered gloves, fleece vest under windbreaker. This evening: no skullcap, half gloves, vest balled up and stashed in my bag.

I was surprised at the chill leaving the office, but I knew it would fade with effort. Nearing home, I turned down Butler at the cemetery entrance, gathering speed, and as I turned I was repelled from my sanguine meditation by a sudden chill, the air cutting through my shell as though it were sheer and drawing taut the skin on my arms into gooseflesh. I was reminded at once of the pockets of cold that lurk beneath the surface of the bay where I have vacationed with my family lo these past thirty years in August or September, the testicle-shrinking, shiver-inducing frigidity that suggests its matriarch North Atlantic, a few miles east, and incipient winter hibernating all summer long -- like the coding for cancer in a body -- amid the dark waters.

But Spring surely has sprung; the sun no longer shines impotently, the days lengthen and grow more amiable. I am eager for thunderstorms, rain spraying sidewards and back from the few square inches where the rubber of my front tire meets the pavement to soak my feet and ankles mercilessly, a spine of water improbably preceding me in a distorted parabola from the front tire's pinnacle, a forgotten physics calculation's vindication. Even the odd typically ephemeral peppering of hail, in its way, is a welcome advent, its prickly smarting against cheeks and fingers an affirmation, a stinging ablution.


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