Friday, February 1, 2013

Celebrating Diversity

We had our first real snowfall last night here in middle Tennessee -- less than an inch, but it stuck -- and it hit me this morning that I've been looking at winter during the past few weeks from the wrong side:

The inside.

And I don't mean that figuratively, either, as if I was somehow trapped inside winter and could only look out ... like Burt Lancaster feeding a baby bird in Alcatraz. I've been comparing winter here to south Florida, fixating on how nice and warm it was down there, which meant that I was missing some of the beauty that middle Tennessee gets during this time of year. It took a fine veil of virginal frozen precipitation to bring that home to me.

I got out early and took some pictures before stuff could melt, then hurried back in for hot coffee and work. By lunch, temperatures had snuck up to near freezing, and by 1 pm I was ready for a break. I quickly bundled up and got outside.

Bring out the gimp.

You can only imagine how happy I am that, when we moved to Florida and discovered you never needed anything more than a light jacket and knee warmers to ride, I did not give in to my anti-hoarding impulses and dispose of that Assos outfit, my balaclavas, the ski gloves, and the winter boots. With a long-sleeve jersey and long-sleeve wind-stopper base layer under that, plus the chemical warmers in the gloves and on the tops and bottoms of my socks, I was probably more comfortable riding in the above get-up than I had been sitting and working in my office all morning.

The more sun-deprived parts of the quieter roads still had snow and patchy ice, so I took it slow. I had recently put some old fenders on my new Lynskey, so with its wider tires it was the perfect choice for the day.

Much of the white stuff on the ground had melted by the time I got to downtown Franklin. Although last night's weather didn't seem to have damaged anything, there were still reminders of the fierce winds from early Wednesday morning. Amazingly, this tree had completely missed one of the stately mansions in town.

In spite of the cold, the Frothy Monkey was still doing a brisk late-lunch business. Rather than hassle with the hustle of the crowds, I just got a large hot latte and a scone to go. There were plenty of seats on the front porch, and the sun felt good.

I noodled about in Franklin a little more, than headed down West Main towards home. I was still feeling a little hungry, so I stopped at a bakery that has been catching my eye for the past month.

Buying a lemon bar, I stuck it in my back pocket for when I got home. Soon, I was cruising down Carter's Creek and Southall Road, before turning on to quieter Blazer Road.

One last icy patch there had me gritting my teeth as I willed the bicycle to float over it. Nothing happened, of course, but these things regularly bring back memories of my January crash two years ago.

And maybe that's part of the problem ... a "once frost-bitten, twice shy" kind of thing. But, as one of the greatest writers ever to suck every penny possible out of a brain-dead premise once wrote: Fear is the mind-killer.

And what a terrible thing it is to lose your mind.

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