04 September 2016

Riding Until The Storm Comes

Many years ago, I read a tale--Japanese, if I recall correctly--about a young boy who is infected with terrible disease that will eventually kill him.  The really cruel part of his fate, however, is that he will grow more beautiful--and seem healthier--the closer he comes to his death.  So, of course, his parents cannot revel in the radiance of his youth, and nobody can understand why they are so sad.

Why was I thinking about that story today?  Well, Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Tropical Cyclone Hermine was supposed to strike some time  this afternoon.  So, after gulping down some green tea, Greek yogurt (from Kesso's , of course) with bananas and almonds, I got out for a ride this morning.  I figured I could get in a couple of hours of spinning, which would be a sort of wind-down from yesterday's ride.

The morning started off partly cloudy/partly sunny, just as the forecast promised.  The temperature was quite agreeable--19C (66F) when I started.  And the wind, while more brisk than what I encountered yesterday, was not an impediment to riding, even though I pedaled into it as I started down my street.

Anyway, I pedaled in the direction of Rockaway Beach, even though the ride I took yesterday included it.  I chose the ride because it's a good, safe bet for two to three hour round trip, depending on what conditions I encounter and how long I want to linger at the beach.  Also, I figured I could see the tides swelling, churned by the storm off the coast.

Well, the tides did grow--or at least seemed to--from yesterday, and during the time I was there today.  Still, some surfers and a few swimmers dared them, the Mayor's warning against rip tides and other dangerous conditions be damned.  I must admit, I was tempted to run into the water,  if only for a moment.  

It was easy to understand why people were in the water, on the beach and strolling, cycling and skating along the boardwalk:  The sun threw off its shackles (some of them, anyway) and shone ever more brightly through the morning.  Even as the sea grew more turbulent, it reflected the luminosity of the orb that seemed to fill more and more of the sky.

So, I continued along the boardwalk and Rockaway Boulevard to Riis Park and Fort Tilden, the tides rising higher and the sun shining brighter along the way.  I could even forget that at this spot

a dune once stood, until Superstorm Sandy swept it away four years ago.

After crossing the Gil Hodges/Veterans Memorial Bridge, I took a turn I didn't take yesterday, through Floyd Bennett Field and onto the path to Canarsie Pier. I wasn't at all surprised to see it ringed with men, most of them from the Caribbean, fishing.  I haven't cast a line in years, but I recall that some of the best fishing comes right before a storm.

Then I retraced my steps (tire tracks?) along that path back to Flatbush Avenue, where I crossed and continued along the Greenway that winds along the South Shore of Brooklyn to Sheepshead Bay, then to Coney Island.

And the day grew brighter and more beautiful.  I kept on riding but couldn't help but to wonder about the storm. Maybe it won't come this way after all, I thought. Or maybe it will strike later.  If it does, will it unleash even more power and fury than it otherwise would have?

By the time I wheeled my bike into my apartment, the sky was completely blue--or, at least, as clear as we can see it in New York. The sun glinted off my windows.  I turned on the radio, just in time for another weather forecast:  Hermine will come tomorrow.  Maybe.  Until then, we can expect clear skies.

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