Monday, March 1, 2010

Today I dusted off my old mountain bike, strapped on my helmet rode the trail. Everyone in our family calls it the trail, but it is officially known as the Du Page River Greenway that connects the west side parks to the historic Hidden Lakes Trout Farm. This is the first time in 2010, that I have ridden the trail. I usually ride it a couple times a week during the warmer months of the year. In the late summer months, maybe even once a day. Riding the trail is not a physically grueling experience, but a rather recreational smooth ride that covers about 3 miles of asphalted trail that has been rolled out across the backyards of homes, prairies and some wooded areas of forestry. It is home to many Midwestern animal families such as the possum, woodchuck, deer, coyote, snake, mice, and an occasional red fox. I have personally witnessed all of these creatures from afar, as well as roadside prey, along the trail.
I took a special interest in riding the trail this morning because it is March 1st and March is the official entry into the wonderful season of spring. The sky was grey, the air was cold, and sparkled with bits of freezing rain, but I was determined to welcome spring whether it wanted to be here or not. Most of the remaining snow that surrounded the trail appeared to be plowed or shoveled off so the ride was cold, but smooth. As I rode, I saw the ducks sitting on the pond behind the first group of houses just east of the park. They looked as grey and cold as I felt pedaling myself over the rolling curve around the pond. As I neared the open area in the prairie section of the trail, the wind grew a little stronger and I heard the rushing water of the creek now completely thawed out and moving freely into the east branch of the Du Page River. I noticed that some of the bushes and trees along the side of the trail had already sprouted some buds on their branches. As I sped through the clearing of the shrubs, I greeted two bundled up elderly gentlemen walking their dogs; our greetings were as short and as crisp as the morning air, with a couple of yaps by the dogs and a quick mornin’ by the men.
By the time I reached the Trout Farm, I passed through some mud and yuck that was strewn across the path and noticed I was headed for some thicker sheets of ice that now glazed the trail ahead. I attempted, but quickly retreated from going any further, as my bike tires lost their grip and spun freely over the ice.
With three more weeks until spring, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We definitely need to get rid of the snow, boost the temperature up another 30 degrees, and begin to think about what we would like to plant this year in our gardens. I like to think of myself as the unofficial ground hog of spring here in Bolingbrook.
Not the one in Pennsylvania on February 2, who stumbles out of his warm hole to declare six more weeks of winter, but the one who climbs onto his bike, rides the trail and looks for the little things that mark the beginnings of our spring to come. By the way, I did not see my shadow! Spring is coming you just have to believe!!

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