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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A day of firsts

As I drove home from physical therapy late yesterday evening, I pulled off the road to watch the sunset. I sat and thought about how lucky I am. My rehab will continue for several months but I don't mind because it's setting me free to do the things that I love.
This morning, as I had breakfast, K mournfully watched the runners in our family depart without her. For the past month, she's been joining them to get in shape for THE day when our trails and I would become ready for us girls to mountain bike together.
Little did K know - but today was the big day! She led us up our first little hill like a puppy.
We easily fell into our riding partnership, with her floating next to me, watching and frolicking as I pedaled. When a snowbank appeared ahead of us, she sprinted and dove into it. Then, she wiggled and wriggled on her back. Of course, her extrasensory perception told her that I was pulling out the camera and she jumped to her feet to look somewhat dignified, although she was still a little unsteady as you can see in the photo.
I pretended to put the camera away hoping to photograph the playful wriggling, and K ecstatically dove into the snow again. But, she has a keen eye for the camera and wouldn't let me catch her being so undignified!

We climbed up to a small hillock and K examined my bike while I paused for the view. I imagined her trying to figure out why the pattern of riding had been broken for so long and why it had suddenly returned.
As we soaked up the sun, a trilling sound zoomed toward us, rising in pitch as it approached. It passed overhead and then the trilling trailed off into the distance. It was a moment for rejoicing because our first male Broad-tailed Hummingbird had just zipped through our airspace. He was right on time compared to past years, despite the thousands of miles that he probably flew to get here. Those power-packed tiny gems never cease to amaze me!

Shortly later, we entered the sun dappled pine forest. K trilled with hummingbird-like energy. She flew toward me on a recall.
And, barely dodged the pine tree, ears flopping high in the air.
She was greeted with a huge hug. Riding my mountain bike with K ranks as one of my absolute favorite things in life.

Before heading home, we made one more stop at a mountain view. I discovered that, during our surgery-induced break from biking, K had become afraid of my bike when it loomed over her. She shied away from it while we rested. So, we played some "check out the bike" and "touch the bike" games. Eventually, she sat next to it for a photo. What an odd fear for K to have developed, especially since we've ridden together since her first birthday!
Just like the old days before my surgery, I dropped K at home (and quickly put out a hummingbird feeder), before heading out for a little more riding. The weather was the warmest of the year, with the air close to 60 deg F so I ventured out in shorts for the first time! However, as I rode to the east, I saw clouds oozing inexorably toward our higher elevation world.
And, when I looked to the west, thunderclouds had blossomed in the blink of an eye. I haven't seen cumulus clouds since last fall. This was, indeed, a day of firsts.
As I rode along the spine of a ridge, a neon pink and yellow object caught my eye on the south facing slope, so bright that I initially didn't recognize it. A ball cactus had bloomed, just in time for hummingbirds, assuming they're very careful as they extract the nectar.
These effervescent flowers are almost shocking in their brightness compared the the brown grass surrounding them. The cheery yellow stamens release pollen dust that coats the delicate petals near their bases.
One blossom had barely opened. The contrast between flower's delicacy and the prickly armor of the cactus always strikes me.
As I rode home, I attempted to take a trail down the north side of the same ridge harboring blooming cacti, and snowbanks topped with ice stopped me. In our mountainous world, spring and winter live literally side-by-side.

The clouds from the east caught me from behind before I arrived home, and the temperature plummeted by 15 degrees. Although I stood in the chilly shade, the mountains to my west still shined in the sun.
Luckily, I was wearing mittens despite the early morning warmth, and I was happy to have them as I rapidly chilled. Indeed, some friends had teased me earlier in the ride about the odd combination of shorts and mittens! However, I have severe Raynaud's syndrome so keeping my fingers warm is paramount to me. Without those mittens, my fingertips would have been sickly white with cold.

Tonight, I'm going to see a Mark Knopfler concert. As I rode, I thought about all that has happened since I purchased our concert tickets back in October. At that time, I had only a tiny inkling that my next spinal surgery had become urgent. So, I didn't expect that a difficult journey sat between me and the concert. Tonight will be a wonderful celebration as I listen to the guitarist who's been my favorite musician since I was a teenager. It feels as if his music has shepherded me through the peaks and valleys of life.


  1. What a beautiful day of firsts!

    Love that K watches for the camera. Lucie does the same thing.

    Great catch on the tree dodge!

    It sounds like you have come a long way! Glad you are doing so well. :)

    Enjoy the concert!

    Chasing my tale...
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  2. Yaaahhh!!! Kona and I are doing our happy dance over here for your first ride with K! K is so goofy with her camera posing.

    When you first started to ride with K, did you have to work with her to get her comfortable with your bike? Was that a bit of a process or did riding with you come naturally to her. I don't think Kona will ever be a good bike partner, but I like to dream=)

    I hope your concert feels like a celebration of all your hard work these last months.

  3. The tree dodge photos are a good capture! I am so happy for you and K to be back to your old routine. Although, in many ways I bet it doesn't feel old or routine, but like an exciting new adventure. Like I said, so happy for you!

  4. What an awesome day for you! K must have been ecstatic to have your rides together back. She may prefer to preserve her dignity, but I had a good giggle at that one picture of her running past the tree! It looks like she's doing a bear impression!

    I hope you enjoy the concert!

    Oh, and thanks for the elk explanation! :)

  5. A great day of firsts - wow, is that cactus flower just beautiful - shocking pink! Love the pix of K - funny she was scared of your bike! And I hope you have a wonderful time at the concert tonight! You deserve a great evening!
    Hugs xoxox
    Sammie and ma

  6. Now this is a day to remember - so many firsts but we can't help but think they all came together to celebrate your victory! Congratulations, you have come so far in so short a time. We can see and feel your smile, the one on your face and the one in your heart.

  7. Oh you lucky woman! I love Mark Knopfler. My two favorite CDs are "Screenplaying" and "All the Roadrunning." When my husband had surgery, my daughter send me his latest CD to listen to driving back and forth to the hospital. I would just love to hear him in concert.

    So glad things are going so well.

  8. Happy Hummingbird Day. I'd better go cook up some juice right now. Ours should be back any day now.

    Happy Back-to-Two-Girls-Biking Day. K does look at the bike in that one photo like, "What's been wrong with you?"

    Happy Concert Day. I love All the Roadrunning album too.

  9. Kia ora KB,
    Just lovely, the budding flowers and pollen are just amazing. Enjoy the show. One of my favs as well, Dire Straits were a constant companion in my youth. Kia kaha.

  10. OMD!


    I guess that explains my 'Funnel of Love' comment on Nigel's blog this am - LOL!

    Seriously, I think I have every one of his releases - and I have to say Making Movies is my favourite DS work AND Sailing to Philadelphia is my favourite MK!

    I can't wait to hear about it!

  11. It's good that you have recuperated so well from your 'journey'...just in time for the concert.

  12. A very good day all things considered. I'm impressed that you are already riding as much as you are - I expected it to take another month or two...

  13. wonderful!! you go girl(s)!
    perfect day for you and K....
    and a perfect evening.....

  14. Holy cow, it was awesome to take this ride with you and feel the exhileration, even though only through your words. Love the cactus flowers, too. I can't believe you get all the flowers so much earlier than me, even though you are higher in elevation!

  15. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. It has been quite a journey, and one that keeps on going!

    I see that I have some fellow DS and MK fans out there. What an amazing musician he is. I don't think that I can identify a favorite album. But, of the recent ones, "All the Roadrunning" ranks very high. Sadly, he never plays anything from it in his concerts. I think that's because he needs EmmyLou's voice to pull it off.

    I do love Making Movies also, like Khyra does. He always plays Romeo and Juliet in concert - one of my favorite all time songs!

  16. Hi KB,
    What a great post! I'm literally having a smile induced by all your firsts. What a happy day for you - and the photos you shared are just fabulous! Can't believe you have a cactus blooming!
    I returned last night from Phoenix and am now in Breck (where it's snowing HARD!).


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