27 September 2014

Turning Back The Calendar

The clock’s been turned back.  Or, more precisely, the calendar:  a month or so, it seems.  At least, one could reach such a conclusion after the kind of weather we’ve been having in this part of the world.

It was as warmer, yesterday, than it was on most days during the past summer.  Perhaps it doesn’t exactly qualify as “Indian summer”:  Autumn began, officially, only four days ago, and the temperature reached 27C (80F).  That says more about how mild the summer was than how much like a momentary heat wave (Is that a contradiction in terms?) the day felt.

At least it was sunny and the sky wore a hue even more turquoise than a pendant I wore when I was in college. (It was actually a lovely piece, if a bit out of fashion at the time.)  Having nothing work-related to do (i.e., I was procrastinating) yesterday afternoon, it was a perfect day to ride.  So what did I do?  I took Arielle for a spin to Point Lookout.

Actually, I had one other motive besides the pure joy of riding Arielle. (What else can you expect from a well-tuned Mercian?). You see, last year or in some previous year, I saw a swarm of monarch butterflies alight from the bushes near the ballfield on the Point.  It was as if a massive cloud of black and gold rose and lifted itself to the heavens and took a right turn just before some pearly gate.

Those monarchs (who really deserve their name, in my opinion) had completed about a quarter or a fifth of their journey, which had begun about a month earlier in Newfoundland or somewhere else in the Great North and would land them in South America in time for Christmas.

As I recall, I saw that great mass of flight right about this time of year:  during the earliest days of Fall.   In purely logical terms, it made sense to hope for such a sight as greeted me on a ride taken on the same spot of a previous year’s calendar. 

Now, some would say that my problem was putting hope and logic in the same sentence, as it were.  By now, you’ve guessed what happened:  I didn’t see my flight of monarchs.  (“My flight of monarchs”:  If that doesn’t betray a sense of entitlement, I don’t know what does.)  I didn’t express my disappointment to the ones who greeted me when I arrived in time for the receding tide:

I guess this avian creature in particular has his/her (Can’t be sexist, can I?) own kind of majesty, or at least imperialness:

All right, I’m not complaining—at least, not much.  Seeing birds colored in the foam the tides leave skipping from rock to rock or resting on a sandbar has its own kind of grandeur, one borne in serenity.  And, of course, I had a great ride on Arielle.

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