Face Up

When I was growing up back in Western PA, I was part of a small group of neighborhood kids somewhat close in age. In the years before the awkwardness of junior high and high school started up, we would play kickball, stickball, tag, and hide and seek late into the firefly filled humid summer nights before heading inside for bath time, snacks, and watching CHiPs on TV.

In the winter time, many of us would also gather in the hilly back alley behind our homes or on the hill down just down the street, and across the creek (pronounced “crick” in Western PA), to sled ride during the winter.

The best nights were the ones in which we knew school had already been canceled for the following day. Our parents would let us stay out later and would sled and goof off in the snow until we were freezing and our clothes were cold and wet.

Many a time I remember coming to the end of my sled’s run, rolling off of it, and laying there face up as fresh snow continued to fall on my face; the only sounds being the snow hitting the crispy leaves still clinging to branches above, and laughter and yells from the other kids at the top of the hill. I could have laid there forever.

While I would love to sit here joyously thinking of those simpler times, I suppose I should get to some sort of point here.

After a pretty intense indoor Zwift™ workout on Friday followed by some camera/woods love, and more casual 15-mile indoor spin in the Not So Stankment watching footy on Saturday as the rain fell, I took Sunday off the bike and opted for a slow walk in the cold, wet woods with my camera. It was Sunday’s walk in the Sylvan Solace Preserve that sparked the childhood memories above.

As I walked through the cold woods, a misty drizzle continued to fall for the second day in a row. I stopped for a moment, looked up a the grey-white sky, closed my eyes and let the cold mist hit my face. With my eyes shut I took in each sound like it was the last one I would ever hear: drops of rain hitting fall leaves, the creaking of trees limbs swaying in the breeze above, the occasional chirp of a bird braving the rain, and the sound of the slow-moving river just over the hill from me. I was tempted to lay down in the wet leaves just as I had in the snows of my youth but instead opted just to soak it all in for a few minutes and then move on.

It was a good thing I didn’t lay down in the leaves as I wanted because a few minutes later I heard the sound of voices coming somewhere down the trail behind me. Probably best that they didn’t discover a man lying in the wet leaves as they hiked by.

With that, I continued on, packed up my camera and headed home. It was a good weekend with some OK workouts and plenty of time spent with friends and family. Friday we watched Jaws together. Saturday Wifey and I went out with our friend Chris and his freundin and took in a local drag show (yes, a small town drag show is just a surreal you might think) and dinner. And then Sunday evening I made dinner, and Wifey and I finished up the documentary Icarus that we started earlier in the weekend. Let the week begin.

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