Vincent is making his way home from his gig and I spent the morning indulging in a few favorite pastimes -- one of which is going for a bike ride. The following is a few thoughts that crossed my mind:
- The tree on the right is an orange tree; their blossoms smell like heaven. It is an almost overpowering scent that doesn't just fill a few feet around them but instead you can smell them hundreds of yards away. If there are enough trees, the aroma carries for miles. It's a rich, heady sweetness that can overpower anything in its way -- exhaust fumes, pollution, anything. In season, this smell wraps around everything; of course it only lasts for a couple of weeks. When I was growing up, hundreds of thousands of acres of orange groves made pretty much the entire center and lower-center of the state come alive like this every year. The freezes of the early 80s and again in the mid-90s have all but destroyed the industry this far north and the developers of the late-90s pretty much destroyed the rest of the groves. But they're still a few of the trees here and there, and I look forward to this time every year.
- Our community has a bike trail that cuts through the center of our town and continues into the counties west, north, and east of us. I feel like I'm among "my people" when I'm on the trail. The hard-core bikers have hard, cut muscles in their legs and butts. Awesome. The runners are in heaven right now because of the weather even though they still look miserable. (I know, I know, runners. You're not "miserable" but "in the endorphin zone." Whatever. You still look miserable. And when it's 98 degrees and 98% humidity in July and August, you can't convince me you aren't miserable.) The in line skaters are beautiful with the graceful sway of their bodies and legs, sweeping from side to side. The earnest walkers make their way up and down the trail. Young people with kids, older retired folks with bikes that cost more than my first car. Gangs of people "training," groups of people "socializing." It's just freakin' awesome.
- There's a nature preserve also along the trail with a back entrance. Today, I locked up my bike on the rack and hiked a mile or so on the trails as well. I saw one other couple through the trees but for the most part I was completely alone. For a while I toddled along with The Indigo Girls and John Prine on my iPod then eventually shut it off just to hear the "nothing" around me. I texted Vince with a photo. I am, in my heart, a nature girl.
- After my solo bike ride I decided to have a solo breakfast at our local french restaurant -- french coffee, an omlette with "fromage et fin herbs," and fruit. I sat in the outdoor cafe section that over looked the trail going through the center of town. That's where I observed once again the huge difference between the folks on the trail and the ones on the sidewalk. Not everyone on the trail was a hard-body (I'm certainly not) but everyone on the trail looked like they gave a damn. Many of the sidewalk strollers moved with that overweight or broken down and painful-looking shuffle of people who've given up; as if they've prematurely embraced decrepitude. These folks weren't old, but they were all, to a man and a woman, damaged.
- While I was eating the chef came out of the back, strode purposefully across the street to the local fresh vegetable shop. He walked back out carrying fresh green onions, tomatoes, and several clumps of the "fin herbs" previously mentioned. He's french, so he looked a bit pissy about it, but his food is always fresh!
- I didn't feel especially sexy this morning but I felt great never-the-less. It's almost a neutral feeling I get when I'm "independent Ivey"; a contented quality that fills me when I'm engaging my body, exploring my environment, entertaining my own thoughts, and observing the world without filters, clutter, or distraction. No one with me whose wants or opinions need to be taken in to account. No one around with whom to discuss, debate, or defend my thoughts or ideas. No one's schedule but my own, no direction except what I choose. It's an awesome and peaceful feeling.
Random rambling. Vincent is home now after an obnoxiously long trek home. The temperature is perfect and I've opened all the windows to let the soft spring breeze perfume the house with orange blossoms. I'm going to let Vincent rest while I go and get a pedicure. Then later, I'm going to cook him a fantastic supper. After that, if he's up for it, I think I'll give him a good night blow job and then snuggle him off to sleep.