Ride The Rockies

I opened Facebook yesterday and there was a memory I had posted from 2013 announcing that Leslie and I had been selected by lottery to participate in Ride the Rockies. It turned out be be a great vacation. I’ve posted Leslie’s diary of the trip on another page of this website. Coincidentally I met Jennifer, a woman I dated for a while a year ago, for a bike ride later in the day yesterday, and we talked a little bit about bicycle vacations. Jennifer is a very different person than Leslie but has some of the qualities that I valued so much in Leslie. She and I had some good times, and I don’t know if our relationship would have continued if the pandemic had not hit. I think we were both recognizing that we saw our relationship from different perspectives and that ultimately it would not have worked, but it is nice that we have renewed our friendship. I like that she is independent, active (cycling, skiing, camping, playing music) and is politically progressive without being obsessed (which I cannot say for myself [yes I’m progressive, but also obsessed]). All this is to say that I am lucky to have made some good female friends over the past few years, but I think about Leslie as much as ever, and still miss her very much.

Spring is only a few weeks away. I was thinking about that as I drove home yesterday. The weather will be getting warmer, the country will be opening up as more people will be getting vaccinated. Today is about three-weeks shy of the 10-year anniversary of our moving into this house. Leslie and I had three great years together here with her in good health, and one year making the most of knowing she was terminally ill and taking advantage of every day she felt well. It’s now coming up on the six-year anniversary of her death. I really try not to think about what life would be like if she were still with me, but neither do I suppress those thoughts when they come. I couldn’t help but feel sad knowing I was coming home to an empty house, and especially feeling sad that Leslie was being denied for another year a chance to watch the pelicans return to Sloan’s Lake, watch the crocuses and daffodils break through the soil, watch the fruit trees blossom, and feel her legs ache riding up Lookout Mountain for the first time after spending three months on a trainer indoors. And of course I selfishly felt sad for myself, knowing that I would not feel her arms around me when I got home.

I’ve kept the covers on the patio furniture on the front porch. One of these nights the overnight temperature will stay above freezing and that will be a sign that it’s time to take the covers off, and maybe sit out front and practice some fiddle tunes (Interesting that they call them fiddle tunes but a lot of them, though perhaps traditionally played on the fiddle, have been made famous by the likes of guitar players Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Tony Rice, and Brian Sutton) that I have been struggling to learn. I’ve been talking for a long time about having my friends Norma, Ruth, and David over for a whisky tasting when things warm up and people are comfortable with relaxed social distancing. I’ve also be hosting a song circle every Wednesday night. When things open up we can start playing live music together again. Yes!

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