This has been a month of firsts for Basil and me: First huge cycling event (the 5 Boro Tour), first time riding in New York City traffic, and this ride, my first attempt to conquer I ride I’ve feared for quite a while — the long steady climb into a local town. Inclines are not my friend; I have a lot of trouble going up, particularly if the action must be sustained.
This one doesn’t look like much, does it? In my defense, it continues beyond the curve ahead; somehow I just can’t seem to capture its fearsome nature in a photograph. The ride is equally steep either way, with equal breaks, too, where Basil and I can just fly downhill. It was hard work, and I struggled a bit, but Basil and I made it into town and back: One more first!
We stopped along the way to explore a cemetery. Though these trees are enormous, they have a certain grace. Basil posed beneath this one. (Mr. Diarist saw this shot, and said “Haven’t I seen this before?” knowing full well he hadn’t — Basil is just fond of posing with trees!)
From a distance, I wondered if the tree had been burned. I think, instead, that it must have lost a limb. When I lived in orchard country, if I recall correctly, damaged areas on trees were often treated with tar (maybe creosote?) to seal and protect the vulnerable spot where there was no bark. I think that’s what I saw here:
It’s a fascinating look at the texture of the wood — as well as testimony to the resilience of the tree itself.
Other than going, at times, very, very slowly, we had only one bothersome moment: A single gust of wind nearly knocked us over.. When I checked the weather record after, the highest recorded gust was only 14 mph/22.5 kph, so it’s surprising that it affected us so greatly. (Although it’s worth noting that measurement was taken at the weather station, not exactly where Basil and I were.) In any event, we held our ground, and arrived home safely. Now I want to see if, with practice, I become stronger, and more capable, at managing this route. That’s what spring is for!