Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | November 9, 2010

Specs

It was an uncommonly warm November afternoon.  Time was of the essence as I jumped onto my bicycle and rode out of my driveway on a mission.  The hours of daylight were definitely against me.

The mission was to ride hard around the lake to reach the fixed-span bridge where the lake empties into the river beyond. My goal was to get there with the sun still shining above the horizon.  I would then continue along the trail and arrive at home before darkness enveloped the path around me.  It was a two-pronged plan.  Those were the specifications.

I paced myself for the long ride ahead as I traversed the twisting bike path that followed the contour of the lake.  I diverted to the road a few times to avoid people out enjoying the warm day as they occupied the width of the pathway with their children or their dogs.  I reached the bridge just as planned.  The sun rested barely above the buildings of the hamlet across the water in the distance.  I had arrived at my first marker.  And I was within specifications.

The wheels on my bike were spinning fast as I came down off the bridge and began the return trip along the opposite side of the lake.  I could see that the sun had not yet set.  But it was now so low in that sky that only its warm glow could be seen reflecting from the leaf-less trees that lined the route.  I had caught my last direct sighting of the sun while on the bridge at the highest elevation along the way.

Twilight had set in within about ten minutes of crossing the bridge.  Twilight is that peculiar in-between-period from sunset to nightfall.  It has been often called the “blue hour” for the predominate hue that colors the surroundings and magically transforms them for a preciously-brief time each day.  The path ahead was clear as people had completed their evening walks and had returned to their homes.  I was now within twenty minutes of my own home.  I knew that I would arrive there at the edge of twilight.  I would arrive at dusk.  I was still within specifications.

I was quickly becoming a phantom figure.  My motions must have seemed like those of an effortless apparition to a bystander or passing motorist.  I was now rounding the head of the lake.  It is the end opposite the fixed-span bridge.  And it is within a half-mile of my house.  The lake was scantily but wonderfully illuminated with what little natural light could still be squeezed from the sky.  It was tranquil and resplendent in beauty as it rested in silence this evening.

I left the lake behind and started up the final hill and toward the final winding approach to my driveway.  It was now definitely dusk.  But it was not yet completely night.  I rode that last quarter-mile secure in the knowledge that the mission would be completed.  And I arrived at home right on cue.  I was within specifications.

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