Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scent-sational cycling

Camas flowers don't have a scent,
but they make a pretty picture!

Among the varied pleasures of regular urban cycling is the unexpected encounter with flowers. Oh, one gets plenty of other smells over the course of a year, but the calendar of flowers and their scents is by far the best.

For me it starts with Daphne. That intense, sweet, simply-amazing-given-the-time-of-year scent that wafts down the street, catching the early spring cyclist by surprise: it remains sudden and fresh and new no matter how many times I experience it.

As the months pass from Daphne-break a succession of new flowers bud and bloom in their turn, creating invisible clouds of encouragement when the sun is warm, the traffic nasty, or the hills seem steeper. As summer comes to its mellow conclusion, there finally comes the rich attar of Rose, seeming to color the air itself as it blows from the city’s rose garden across my path home.

Even though this procession of flowers, their colors and scents, is bound by time, the experience of cycling amongst them is timeless. Like so much I experience on a bike, it makes me glad for the whole person, the whole experience of life. In a car I am frequently concerned only with “getting there.” Upright on my slow Dutch bike, I enjoy the meaning of the journey itself.

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