What is it about me, a bike and what passes for wild animals around here? In 2007, there was the now famous encounter with a cow on County Road X. Unable to decide what to do about my presence, this considerably larger-than-my-bike bovine proceeded to lead me up the hill in a dance to which only she knew the moves. Except I’m not so sure even she knew them. It was a low speed affair, however, and as such, more entertaining than frightening.
Things were a bit more exciting last weekend. Mohawk Valley Road provides one of the many enjoyable climbs that are available around here. A rolling uphill section gives way to a fairly gentle climb. Wooded slopes rise up on your left while to the right, the hill falls away into an open valley. A sharp bend to the left puts you at the beginning of the steeper part of the climb. And, approaching the top, there are three short stretches that push up even more, reaching grades around 11% to 13%. A scenic climb with enough challenge to be rewarding.
On this day it was only a short stay on the ridge - every bit of 20 yards to Proksch Coulee Road which drops away suddenly on its way back towards Stoddard. You come quickly to a sharp bend that makes you glad you had Dan check the brakes during the last tune up.
It was here, just coming out of the curve, that I encountered two squirrels trapped in a crisis of indecision. In the brief time I had them in my sight they skittered back and forth, apparently captured by some mysterious gravitational force that always pulled them back towards the middle of the road. Then, just before the crash that might have done as much damage to me as to them, they made a decision and disappeared into the woods to my left.
Sometimes you have to do that. Decide. Left or right. It’s better than the middle of the road. Last night I gave a presentation to a local professional society about our work with schools in Uganda. It just reminded me that there is more to do. And decisions to make in order to move on.
There’s this quote I stumbled upon today: “To say that you care is one thing. To show that you care is quite another.” Those squirrels really cared about getting out of the way. But they had to finally make the decision to run off the road to have it make any difference. To them and to me. Left or right; maybe neither are perfect; but either preferable to skittering about in the middle of the road.