Milepost achieved

Farmington Valley Greenway

My son and I have accomplished a significant biking goal – we made it into Massachusetts! As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have been riding the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in little sections of 3-5 miles each (the ten-mile roundtrip is a pretty good accomplishment for a 7-year-old on a single-speed bike!). Yesterday’s leg of the journey started at Rte 20 in Granby and extended some 4 miles into Southwick, MA.  This is that little puzzle-piece-tab of Massachusetts that extends into Connecticut, for reasons I’d love to know.

It was a gorgeous day. Here’s what I noticed on this trip: The landscape changes a lot in short distances. I mean, we often comment on how different New England is from Florida or Texas or other distant places.  But, I am amazed at how widely different the section of trail in Farmington is from the section in Granby, just 15 miles away, and not just because we humans have put more stuff up in Farmington. The trees feel different, the sun is filtered differently through them. We ride through swampy, boggy areas in both, but somehow they seem warmer and more inviting (if that’s possible) in the northern areas.  And then, when we crossed the line into Massachusetts, there was an even more significant change, almost offering an understanding of why these borders were originally set up.

Each bike ride now starts and finishes a little farther from home than the previous, and I’m looking forward to seeing even more new and more different.

When nature wins

Today, I’m sharing a series of photos I took on a bike ride a few weeks back.  I call it “When Nature Wins.”  Along the Farmington River rail trail there is an old factory that is seemingly still in use, and there is a railroad siding that runs directly into the back of the building. Of course, the main track is long gone, replaced by the bike trail, so the remaining trestle and rail ties fully intertwined with Mother Nature is quite beautiful.  It is a great reminder that our Earth has so much inner power.

Music in nature

Farmington River, Burlington, CT

Farmington River, Burlington, CT

My goal this spring has been to get out and do a bike ride with my son every day that it is possible.  So far, so good: most sunny days he and I have set off on a 5-9 mile rail-trail excursion, and he is improving more quickly than he is growing in stature (which is happening rapidly!).

Being very attuned to sound, I’m constantly aware of the singing birds, the rushing river, the breeze in the leaves, the whir of tire on pavement, and of course the not-as-subtle, “Dad! Slow down!”  It feels completely cliché to write about how beautiful these nature sounds are, but I feel it is too important to be ignored.  Even along the trails, the sounds of our (human) making are ever so close, with the passing trucks and cars, and most especially those who have long cell phone conversations while walking in the woods!  The connection I have felt to nature becomes even more precious when there is so much competition for my attention.  I’m even aware when we stop just to enjoy the view that is so hard to quiet the nagging voice that says, “Get moving! Work to be done at home!”

So, the medicine I’ve chosen is to do it regularly.  Get out there, feel the breeze, hear the sounds, quiet the mind.  Try it!