Scenes from a bike ride

My bike commute to and from work takes me on eleven miles of winding, wooded bike path, through one nerve-tingling intersection, and on three and a half miles of double-laned city streets.

Sometimes I don't see much worth noting, just soak it all in. Sometimes, in the gentle way of neighborhoods and bike paths, I do.

1. The Unconcerned Ducks
Every year, a pair of ducks picks a front yard in our neighborhood and nests. They spend their days hanging out and walking around the neighborhood. No one has ever seen them fly anywhere. (Next year we should start a neighborhood betting pool on whose yard they will pick, everybody chip in some beer, winner take all and host the party.)

I saw the ducks yesterday. They waddled slowly down a driveway and into the street. Slinking behind them, a very young orange cat. The cat looked terrified. As though it had never stalked prey before and did not know what its nervous system was suddenly forcing it to do. At the street, the ducks stopped. The male duck, which outweighed the cat, looked back at it, then at the other duck. Hand to God, if ducks could shrug. Then the ducks kept slowly waddling into the street.

2. Pretty Lady
Sometimes women come to the gym in full makeup at 8 am on a Saturday morning. I don't get it, but OK, whatever. Yesterday a woman ran toward me on a long, flat stretch of the path. From a long way away she looked like a doll: bright white t-shirt, stark black shorts, luminous white arms and legs, loose black wavy hair. Up close: on her lips a brilliant scarlet slab of lipstick, recently and perfectly applied. So rare, so strange, so pretty. I very much wanted to warn her about the cloud of gnats she was going to run into 100 yards ahead.

3. Well played, Old Coot
I ring my bell to warn people ahead on the trail. For this tall gentleman I rang insistently, as he was walking in small semi-circles in one spot on the path, looking off into the woods, then up into the sky. He had a big shock of white hair, was wearing a white undershirt tucked into tan shorts, and had a small chaw stuffed in his lip. As I neared him and passed, he wheeled toward me, opened to full wingspan his huggin'-the-grandbabies arms, and yelled out, "Go git er, Girl!"

I award him 20 Hello Kitty points. Well played, Old Coot.