Not far into my morning bike ride, I encounter a significant hill just on the other side of a major intersection. If I manage to hit the intersection while in motion, the momentum allows me to shift into 12th gear before I reach the top of that rise.
Then I can fly down the other side, cranking as hard and fast as I can, wind whistling through my helmet straps. When I am riding hard like that, my lungs are working at full capacity, pumping in and out in rhythm. Breathing in that way, I take in great lungfuls of air, scented with whatever happens to be on the wind at the moment: creosote from the new railroad ties, flowers, exhaust, mud, solvent from the concrete factory.
This morning as I approached the top of the hill, I caught the sweet smell of mimosas on the wind. And the lemon scent of saucer magnolias. And the spiciness of wild roses. The flowers of late June. These smells are part of the succession of flower fragrances that my nose has witnessed since I began regularly riding my bike this spring, starting with the heavy sweet scent of honey locusts and wisteria. Soon, these start-of-summer will fade and fall, making way for the smells of mid summer, bringing forth forgotten memories, tying past and present together as I fly through the humid morning.
© 2011 Shay Seaborne. All rights reserved.