You may have noticed (both of you), in the course of reading this blog (or its predecessor) over the years, that I am a semi-avid bicyclist (here is an example of something I've written before) (and here is another one) (and, oh, heck, another one). One of the things I like best about cycling is the 'out-in-nature' aspect of it - things like noticing the crops in the farmers' fields as they progress from little sprouts just sticking out of the ground, to 'knee-high-by-the-4th-of-July' corn crops, to something in the fall that I can use for a needed potty-break without any concerns about being seen. . .
I cherish a few memories of some unique experiences of nature when I've been out on my bike. Like the time, one November, when I was out on dry roads on a chilly (but warm enough to ride) day, and wound up riding through a light snow-squall that lasted for about 2-3 minutes, and barely even got the road wet. Like riding inside one of those 'snow-globes', just after somebody shook it.
Or the time, on another fall day, this one not quite so chilly as the one above, when I crested over the top of a hill and surprised a flock of sparrows who were sunning themselves on the warm pavement on the sunward slope of the hill. Instantly, I was riding through a swirling cloud of startled little birds (none of which, perhaps miraculously, were startled directly onto my person).
Which reminds me of the time that I was riding down a country road just after a farmer had commenced manuring his field. He had hauled the manure-wagon from his barn on the east side of the road, to his field, a half-mile down on the west side of the road (and when I say 'wagon', I'm talking about something just slightly smaller than a gravel-hauler). The wagon had been filled to the brim, so there had been some, uh, 'slosh-age' onto the surface of the road. So for a half-mile, I was riding through what looked to all the world like mud, but was really something considerably more, uh, organic. When I got home that day, Jen declined to wash my shirt, and just threw it in the trash (she may even have burned it; I don't remember).
Yesterday, I was out on my bike, and I had another of those one-in-a-million experiences of nature. I was about 25 miles into a 35-mile ride, on the outskirts of one of the small towns near the city where I live, when a family of five deer bounded across the open field I was riding past, and across the road, perhaps ten yards directly in front of me. I say 'family', although I don't really know that they were all related to each other. There were two larger deer, two 'middle-sized' ones, and a little spotted fawn the size of a small-to-medium-sized dog (with really long, skinny legs, if it had been a dog). So it looked like Mom & Dad & the kids, although I have no idea if deer even form family units like that. . .
There was a large SUV approaching in the oncoming lane, and the first two deer bounded right in front of him, causing him to come to a stop. The 'middle' pair continued on in front of him, apparently heedless of his presence, or any danger appertaining thereunto. But the little spotted fawn was tracking directly into the driver's-side door of the SUV. He stopped himself, pitching forward on his forelegs as he did, wavered confusedly for a split-second, and, once he realized that the SUV wasn't moving, he spun and followed his clan across the road. As I passed him, the driver of the SUV and I just grinned at each other and shook our heads.
And thanked our lucky stars (or, you know, whomever one thanks for stuff like that) that neither of us had arrived at that juncture a second or two earlier. . .