Promptly at 6:10 a.m. this morning, after a respectable night’s sleep and the welcome absence of fermented potato juice contaminants the evening before, I hopped onto my trusty Electra 9-speed bicycle and headed towards the Village of Appleton along my customary route. There was a great deal of early morning traffic, mostly large, noisy vehicles like dump trucks, school buses and half-ton pickups, the trades making way sometimes at alarmingly high speeds to their respective destinations. As I ride against the traffic, whenever one of these mountains of steel comes hurtling towards me, I make sure to drift onto the gravel shoulder, as far to the left as possible, sometimes having to slacken my speed considerably if there is a prevalence of loose stone, since otherwise I might easily lose my balance. It merits observation that many of the drivers go out of their way themselves to move over from the shoulder of the road as they pass by me. When this happens, I raise my index and third finger together (in the manner of the “peace” sign) as a token of my appreciation (though I might add it doesn’t deter me in the least from taking my precautions). Sometimes it is impossible for them to move over, when for example another vehicle is coming in the opposite direction. The younger automobile drivers, especially young women, seldom deviate an inch from their lawful territory, whether or not there is on-coming traffic. When that happens, I find myself muttering some philippic or other under my breath, though I suppose I have no right to expect any courtesy whatever from them.
The ride to and from the Village proved once again to be of the utmost pleasure and enjoyment. I have never warmed to running as a form of exercise, always preferring to bicycle. I like being able to cover relatively large distances in a limited time, and the physical demands of bicycling are for me far less onerous than having to run on my old, flat feet. My bicycle, with its balloon tyres, raised handlebars and “fat ass” seat are hardly reminiscent of the Tour de France, but it satisfies my need for moderate exercise. I adore the countryside at that time of morning as well. Even though we are very near the summer solstice, the sun is still barely over the tree line at 6:15 a.m., but on an exceptionally clear morning such as today, under a cloudless blue canopy, the sky is vast above the distant fields. Already the cattle are out of the barn, munching the new crop of grasses, diligent upon their occupation and hardly taking any notice of me as I slip silently by. There was a slight breeze from the north, but it wasn’t enough to do anything more than refresh me as I began the return trip to Almonte.
Back home, the kitchen counter was laid with the tools and provisions of breakfast; viz., spoon, knife, bowl, side plate, hemp seed, granola, soya milk, English muffin, Marmite and pomegranate juice. To this we add a cocktail of vitamins, which I dutifully take without really knowing what they are. Of course there is hot, black coffee to stimulate the brain cells. We customarily listen to the CBC Morning radio show, sometimes throwing barbs at the announcers unbeknownst to them, exercising the privilege of the masses to mock their betters!
Outside the kitchen window the purple lilac blossoms abound. The crab apple blossoms have since come and gone, but the branches of the trees are laden with rich green leaves. The deck is partly shadowed by the sprawling umbrella. It’s just 7:30 a.m., and there is still ample time to prepare myself for the exigencies of the office for another day.