By morning the spring rain had moved on. The clouds still hung misty low on the tops of the hills. There were no leaves yet, but the branches were lined with crystal droplets holding surrounding shapes and colors in their mirrors. Not even a whiff of breeze moved the air. Scents were sharpened and intense.
It was perfect weather for a bicycle ride; although still cool enough that I needed heavy gloves and layers to hold in heat. The street traffic was light and I was soon spinning along the bike path by the river.
I am hazard to be around when I walk with a camera—stopping in my tracks, kneeling, bending, climbing fences. So I left the Nikon at home when I went on my bicycle. I‘ll just have to tell you what I saw and toss in a few photographs from my archives.
But first I must tell you about what I could smell. As I rode down the streets there were the scents of laundry in the dryers, breakfast bacon, fresh aromas from the bakery and the petroleum smell of passing autos. Away from the road I could tell a skunk had awakened from hibernation and had been out exploring. There was the fragrance of wet grass, soggy leaves and soften soil. A tang of sage and mint lifted by the river.
I cruised down the path behind a new development of offices, some still under construction, and came to an immediate stop when I saw a large dark something standing in the way. Too small for a horse, to long-legged for a cow; it was a young moose, his coat almost black. He was browsing on freshly planted trees by a building. His huge hooves left platter-sized prints in the mulch that had been carefully arranged in the landscape. He saw me waiting and left his tasty breakfast to wander off into the cottonwoods.
I crossed the bridge and was soon riding past hay fields and pastures. A big rooster ringneck pheasant hurried across the road and into the brush.
Then I heard a strange bark. Dogs love to chase bicycles. But, instead of a dog, there was a female fox staring at me from a heap of sticks and rocks in the shelter of some willows. She fluffed her brown tail and sprinted away with her ears up, probably hoping I would pursue her and be led away from her den full of babies.
In about an hour I’d made a loop that brought me back into town and home with plenty of time to get ready for work.
(Moose and pheasant photos taken last year. The moose I saw this time was darker. The fox photo is borrowed from treknature.com)