Friday, June 24, 2016


On the fifth day I traded pavement for dirt

Something had them upset - the crows, I mean. There were three of them, the jet black of their feathers soaking in as much heat as the blacktop melting my tires. They circled around me, flew ahead just a little and landed, took flight as I got up to their momentary perch, then repeated the whole process, again and again. All the while their mouths were wide open, and from which they unleashed a very loud, plaintive caw. Sometimes, when they perched their wings would droop down and behind them; if you were to un-focus your eyes it looked like they were melting. I was sure it was an attempt to keep cool, just as I was sure their vocalizations were pleas, expectations that I could do something about the heat, provide some relief to their suffering. 

For four days those crows, always three, always the same three, always at the same place, engaged in this little drama between the four of us. Although they were pitiable rather than threatening, I thought of Alfred Hitchcock, their behavior was very unusual. On the fifth day my legs took me elsewhere. When I had finished riding on that fifth day my arms hung limply at my sides, shoulders too tired to remain upright, sweat dripped from my nose, my brow, my fingertips, the toes of my shoes, and when I blinked it rained down from my eyelashes. If you were a crow perched nearby and had unfocused your eyes it might have looked like I was melting.

some people will go to lengths to get a shot

Dan "Leader" Aul (3/25/46 - 4/5/16)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

CHWP Closure Extended

The weekend is almost here, unfortunately the red flag closure of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, begun last weekend due to excessive heat and high fire danger, has been extended through Monday the 27th of June. Of course with fires still raging nearby, and temperatures expected to top 100º for almost all of next week, I expect there is a possibility the closure will be extended beyond the 27th as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lines of Sight

The other day I had to make a little detour from my regular route through the Colleges. A new layer of slurry seal was being laid, and if nothing else, I did learn from the only other time I rode through that kind of mess - to never do it again. Anyway, that detour took me through the double-arched passage shown above. There is nothing special about the forms themselves, though the reveal around the arch and the lines in the concrete left by the forming do add some textural interest. More significant, I think, are the combination of the two arches, and the view - through the first arch, over the wall, above the red-tiled roofs, to the Smith Memorial Tower. The combination establishes an effective progression through space, the eyes move from one point to another. And where the eyes lead, the body follows. Ride and seek.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Triple Digits

"Triple digits," as a statement its meaning is clear. Its use is a warning as much as anything. Or is it an excuse, an explanation or reason?

 The lakeshore filling to capacity well before noon; a tiny town of tents and pop-up easy-ups. Music, laughter, loud talk, the blare of a vuvuzela above it all. Swimmers pack in to a roped-off area of the lake, a school of sardines splashing around in shallow waters. I can't help but smile at their enthusiastic play. A hundred feet away the trail veers away from the water edge, the crowds suddenly gone. The hills are not where people want to be this day and untrodden dust rises from a single pair of passing tires. Heat presses down and radiates back up, two times the sizzle. Tactile and auditory at the same time. I can feel the heat, and hear it? It is a trick the cicada's like to play. Or is it a trick? After all they only emerge when the days are the hottest. They are as much a part of the sensory impact of the summer season as the heat, the sun, the dry grass, dun earth, rising dust, thirst and sweat.

a day for an easy ride, nothing more strenuous than the climb of Fatt Hill

okay, so I ain't gonna to wake one morning to find my name on no list for
grammatarian of the year but... my what is there, now?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

PSA: Heat is a Coming

They say it is going to be hot over the next few days in our inland areas. That is hot with a capital HOT. Of course, if you are reading this from Phoenix you'll need to change that to scorching. Temperature rise does tend to happen this time of year, so I doubt anyone is really surprised. Some people love the excessive heat, others dread it. I don't seem to have the tolerance I once did, but still don't mind a little heat and won't feel compelled to get out at 5:30 or some other ungodly early hour. People acclimate to heat at different rates. Everyone, though, is ultimately affected by it. Know your limits, what you're body can take and plan your rides accordingly. See you out on the roads and trails.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Season of the Ride: Levitt on the Lawn

apparently, at least a few others rode in as well

For a long time I was a dedicated bike commuter, every week, year in and year out. Not every day, two or three days a week at best. More than that seemed like a level of commitment that was out of reach and, at the time, impractical. It nags at me that those weeks have become few. I have tried to make up for the lack by running as many short trips around town by two wheels as I can. All those short errands we do daily, or weekly, or even occasionally. Like last night. Once again Scripps College played host to another of the Levitt on the Lawn concerts - the Levitt Foundation is "dedicated to reinvigorating America's public spaces through creative placemaking and creating opportunities for everyone to experience the performing arts" - to that end the Foundation funds a series of free performances throughout the year and across the country, including at three local venues, in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and here at Scripps in Claremont. The Railsplitters, hailing from Colorado, created more than just a little stir to the air - their eclectic bluegrass harmonies energized that little patch of turf with some foot-tapping, head-nodding, cartwheeling fun.

The four mile round trip was unbelievably easy to make by bike in the cool evening air. With the summer season well upon us, opportunities to leave the motor in the garage in favor of walking or riding, are multiplying quickly. Friday Nights Live, the First Saturday Art Walk, the Summer Concert Series at Memorial Park, the weekly farmers' market, 4th of July festivities, and other untold events in the Village, or at the Colleges are all within easy reach from virtually any point in town, and even from some of the neighboring burgs. Who, these days, really wants to drive (uuggh) when they don't need to? So go ahead, commit to arriving to at least one of the local summertime events, by bike this year; I think you will discover how pleasant the journey can be, and you will be setting one heck of a good example.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ibis Nights: Honey

It was a honey of a ride. No. It wasn't. In fact there hasn't been a honey of a ride in a while. Decent is the most promising description I can manage, so clearly, my name for this bird did not take its inspiration from my riding as of late. Instead she is named for the rich golden honey color of her plumage. In not a single one of the five photos of her I took did she look my way. I don't believe that is due to any shyness, however, but rather due to a dedicated focus on plucking at whatever little morsels were hidden in the straw around her feet.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...