Friday, August 23, 2013

I Visited Heaven Today

I visited Heaven today. It was closed.
The road was long, but the time too short.
A canopy of green, a blessing of shade.
The rolling leaf crackles. The ground squirrel scurries. The butterfly flutters.
I stop to soak it in. What is bliss? It must be this.
The sky so blue. The grass so brown. Green? So many shades of green.
Man scars the land. Children replant. Mother Nature heals.
The heat of the blazing sun. The relief of the subtle breeze.
The easy pace of a gentle grade. The anticipation of the steep climb ahead.
An Official Notice - Extreme Fire Danger - Closed to all.
Do I go back? No. Relentless Forward Momentum. RFM. RFM.
The valley continues, as do I.
A fork in the road. The choice is clear. I've been here before.
The quiet road narrows, now a one lane path.
A thin sliver in a deep evergreen sea, an abundance of shade.
The forest reclaims the road, the bushes encroach.
Time to shift, the gentle grade slips away.
Standing now, the heartbeat quickens.
An angry bird cries out - Invader. Begone! Another bird joins in. And another. A chorus.
The forest reclaims the road. A stretch of dirt. Can I find a path? I keep grinding on.
The hill is as relentless as it is steep. RFM. RFM.
A tree snaps. A bird cries out and flies away. The tree is falling! Towards me? I can't speed up!
Steeper? How can it be steeper? There are no more gears.
The tender caress of a leaf - It's okay, you'll make it.
The forest reclaims the road. A boulder marks the spot.
The tinkling of a tiny rivulet. The babbling of a brook. The crescendo of a creek. A symphony of H2O.
Water. I must drink. I have to stop. Relief. Can I rest? No. RFM. RFM.
The wings beat as the large bird flies off. The branch groans with relief as it springs back up.
Will the hill ever end? Can I last? This must be Heaven. Please don't end.
The forest reclaims the road. Little blacktop here. Moss is everywhere.
What is that? The top! Relief. Sadness.
I visited Heaven today. It was closed.
The road was long, but the time too short.
Will I return? I haven't left.


As part of riding from Seattle to Crater Lake in August 2013, I rode on Camp Creek Road between Reedsport and Roseburg. A 21 mile stretch of state forest road, followed by a similar 10 mile stretch on Tyee Road was, well, heavenly.