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05/29/2009: "Just Like Springtime!"
After a busy and sometimes unsettling week, it was nice to take a simple bike ride that was not in support of often unpleasant chores. Sometimes the best "utility ride" is one that revives your spirit, since whatever else you do, you live enmeshed in your feelings.

So of course the Bottecchia and I headed west, to the Bridge at Playa del Rey, an easy forty-five minutes ride, most of it on a paved bike path that runs along Ballona Creek.

This being Southern California, Ballona is not so idyllic as one used to wetter climes might suppose; it is mostly a trapezoidal trench clad in concrete or riprap, but it is quiet, and there's water in it, and once you get down to the estuary that channels through the remains of the original wetlands, the banks, and the edges of the bike path, are abloom with daisies and a variety of native plants, filing the air with perfume and the eye with blazes of yellow, red, and white.

And there are birds: giant blue herons with stately stance on the ground and two-meter wingspans in the air; there are egrets, pelicans, gulls, and ducks--lots of ducks. There are sparrows flitting through the chainlink fence, and crows surveying you from the tops of power poles. The bikes don't scare them; I rode within two feet of a mama duck and her four tiny ducklings--delightful!

At the Bridge I met Bill M. and we jawboned for a while, as always. Dozens upon dozens of bikes rolled by, from titanium and carbon road bikes to beach cruisers to recumbents to a fixie or three. Old friends strolled or rolled by and nodded or stopped for a chat. Birds flew over, and the tide whispered as it rolled shuffled slowly under the bridge.

Time came to turn home, and I did, refreshed by my "commute" from my own front door to my own front door, to work.

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