The forest is still buried under a canopy of a foot-plus of snow. It's lightly flurrying out, and if my body feels a little better today, I may try to embark on a very mellow ski, as the fever is gone (but the body still weak). The quest for 100 delayed, but not finished. The world is white, the sky is gray. But lately, I've been dreaming another dream. It's a world of green. Of budding aspens. Of soft, deep brown, tacky dirt. Of smells of spring, smells of mud, of pine, perhaps mixed in with a lingering wood stove, creating a cornocopia for the senses. Perhaps we wake up, and a light rain is falling outside the caboose. Brew up some matte, and watch as the rain subsides and the fog rolls in from the east. And then the sun, while not shining direct, sends the fog into a sparkling array of glimmers and sheens. Elaine and I head outside, smell the air, like two wolf mates, and decide it's time to ride. This season, the goal is not to race or go as fast as possible, but to teach my life partner as much as possible about this activity that has enriched my life greatly. She has asked to learn, and there is nobody I would rather teach. Add another NIMBY to the fray, and someday we'll create a family of them – a shaggy haired tribe of free thinkers, taught mostly through experience in the outdoors and the forest and the mountains – to defend this land. Someday. On this day though, we toss on our bike clothes – baggy and understated of course because we're looking to blend with nature, not dominate it. Fill the bottles with water, go outside, and find our bikes. Our wolf dog is in tow. Hop on, head left up the hill, and dive into the local trail. We're quickly engulfed in a tunnel of wetness, as the trees, which were earlier moistened with rain, extend their branches to us, cleaning us, giving us the best bath in the world. And then, it's into the swoop. Following the path of dirt, winding, ever winding, through the sea of pine and aspen. Below, the tiny pasque flowers, popping through the dirt around the lingering snow drifts. We come around a bend and to the west there sits the divide, still white with snow (and this is good, for spring skis in the peaks are a delight). Down the gully, slowing now, because we are not in a rush, and we want to see the world. If we're lucky, we'll hear an elk herd rumble off through the forest, or perhaps even a lone moose wandering the willows. We come to the lake now, smooth, unfrozen. A raft of ducks paddles across the middle, their home unfrozen. Off to the side, the simmering sound of the frogs, crying across the spring air. There are a few muddy sections on the trail, and the soil clings to our skin, but we don't mind, because we are on a bike ride, and the forest, the earth, this trail is our home.
It's snowing out. And for this I am thankful. But in the head, these are the dreams that are creeping in.