Corn to the left of me…

It was a dark and stormy night, and we were all seated around the campfire, when the Captain turned to me and said, “Antonio, tell us one of your stories.” And so I began…

It was a dark and stormy night, and we were all seated around the campfire…

Heat lightning…all light, no thunder. Like fireworks without noise, or northern lights without color.

We sat outside at some friends’ house last night, eating dinner in a thunderstorm. It felt like camping in the city. When the storm passed, the air turned cool. Due to staying out late, I didn’t make the start of the group ride, and rode out alone. That way I could ride out my driveway and not have to drive somewhere to meet people. It was a “choose your own adventure” ride, with no real plan except to ride to Cottage Grove and see what happened next. The road was closed before I got there, so the adventure began. It was cloudy and humid. I had a vague notion of heading east (East!?! – private joke, sorry), but here I was headed south already. After passing by Deerfield, I decided to head east to Cambridge for an espresso and pastry. The coffee shop I’d stopped at on a prior ride was closed. The only open place I found was crowded, so it was a quick snack at a gas station convenience store and back on the road, headed toward Stoughton and back home. The laundry I’d hung before the ride was dry. The sun was out, it was getting hotter, and I was glad to be done with the ride by noon.

Riding alone, songs tend to drift through my head, inspired by whatever I see (or wherever my mind has wandered). A Great Blue Heron appeared before I left town, sitting at the edge of an urban creek. Riding through corn and soybean fields (and remembering a story from yesterday about the Insane Clown Posse) a Stealer’s Wheel song from 1972-3 came to mind…for those of you who don’t like to click the video links (and aren’t old enough to remember), the chorus says, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

Can she bake a cherry pie?

Strawberry season is here, but getting out to a berry patch to pick is another issue. Cherries, on the other hand, are just a short walk from here. This morning I picked two pies’ worth, and this afternoon, they became two pies.

Wheaties calls itself the Breakfast of Champions, but I would argue that title should go to cherry pie a la mode with a cortado. To call that the Breakfast of the Half-fast doesn’t do it justice.

I had a great adventure last week. I did the Wednesday Night Bike Ride with a friend. Spine-tingling adventure already, eh? Riding next to someone with whom I don’t live! Then he suggested we go out to dinner. I hadn’t been in a restaurant since February 23, 2020. You might ask why I remember that specifically. That’s not the point, so I won’t answer. If you really must know, ask in the comments.

My first reaction was a bit of trepidation. Then I wondered what the point of being vaccinated is if I don’t change my behaviors. So we went to a restaurant where we could eat outside. The nearest other patron was 10 feet away. I figured tequila and lime are both anti-viral [ed. note: requires citation] so I drank a Margarita to be safe. A little salt on the rim was to replace lost electrolytes. I drank tequila and ate tacos in a public setting and lived to tell about it.

I rode a new route through familiar territory. Some roads I hadn’t seen, some others in different directions or different sections. Contour farming and intercropping make for great contrasts. I believe I found a new ride to add to the list of favorites. (The new-for-2021 Mt Vernon route, for those from around here, offered four options from 13 to 42 miles and was called the “Get Lost Ride”. We ended up getting lost and making our own route by combining a couple of them when we made a wrong turn and didn’t want to backtrack. That leaves another valley to explore another time.)

Follow the yellow brick road.

Knee-high by the 4th of July is what they say for corn around here. Even with the drought, this is well past the knee, and this is not the tallest corn we saw. Is it new hybrids, GMOs, overuse of fertilizer?

The weather was perfect. Cool and cloudy with a few drops of rain to add suspense. It was windy but, for some reason, seemed to be a tailwind most of the time. (Like having more than one favorite ride, I consider more than one kind of weather perfect for riding. I might have once said there is no such thing as bad weather for riding, just not the right clothes.)