It all paid off. I passed the test with plenty of room to spare (huge sigh of relief) but I am woefully behind in training and in general fun-having. So with the solstice here and hours and hours of sunshine on tap, I put my bike on my car and headed up to the Centennial Trail for some much-needed nature time. With no backpack on my back, I felt strangely light and free, and with no cars, no cement trucks, no buses, no fire engines to contend with, I could lose myself in the smooth spinning of my pedals and let my mind wander ... just me and my bike and green trees and blue skies and donkeys and cows and long stretches of blissful solitude.
I stopped once, to scoop a dead vole off the trail and give it a respectful burial before someone ran over it, but other than that, I just rode, the sun warm and soft on my back, the fresh farm-country air in my nose, the wrinkles in my brain smoothing out.
And then, because too much solitude is not good either, I met Frank and Roxanne at the End of the Trail brewpub for refreshments and conversation and laughter. I am back in balance, and not a moment too soon. The sun is as far north as it can go, and now it heads back, back toward winter and ski season. I have a LOT of work to do before the snow comes, and I'd best get on it!