There’s this place we like to go, usually on school nights. Ostensibly we go to ride but realistically what we’re doing there is recharging.
It’s not technically far from home but distant enough that we can’t just up and go on a lark. As such, any trip there feels special. It isn’t really accessible in spring due to melting snow, mud, slush, mess. But we ride there with some regularity the rest of the year. It isn’t a stretch to say that I’ve ridden some variation on this route several hundred times. It both is and isn’t that good.
What draws us to it is some inexplicable combination of wild trail, lack of crowds, peaceful groves, and its short, finite nature.
On the surface it would seem that a trail not particularly extensive, ridden hundreds of times, would be a known quantity where every root, rock, and puddle would be cataloged and understood intimately.
There are spots like that, for sure. But surprisingly few.
While riding it a few days ago I commented to my wife Jeny that despite my OCD nature, I’ve somehow avoided memorizing every corner, hill, and spruce along the way, such that the trail still has surprises for me every time we ride it.
I don’t think of Jeny as OCD but she has a knack for recognizing — often subconsciously — patterns and places that need to be pointed out to me. Despite the fact that she’s ridden this route maybe a third as many times as I, she knows it much better.
I can’t think of any other place where I’ve spent this much time immersed in and cognizant of what is special about it and yet I am still unable to tell you what’s around the next corner. Or the one after.
I lack any sort of understanding or explanation for how this could come to pass. Something so without precedent just doesn’t fit.
And yet it makes me truly happy to know that even this far along in life there are still so many things to be learned. That I can still surprise myself.
Soon I’ll start being surprised to see my toothbrush, right where I left it.
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