A couple days ago I decided to go for a bike ride after work. It was one of those days that had been long and tiring. I didn't really feel like riding, but knew it would be good. After 9 hours on your feet, sometimes exercise of a different form, makes your tired legs feel better. I didn't really have much time, but I put a few books in my backpack to return at the library and set off.
Usually when I ride I take my iPod along. I did the same this time, but decided that I didn't feel like using it. You know those days when your senses just seem to be heightened? We've all had times like that. Last Wednesday was one of them for me. It seemed like my eyes, ears, and nose could barely keep up with everything they were taking in.
As I leave the complex where I live, there is a group of kids that are always playing outside. They were there, just like clockwork, laughing, shouting, cheering, mocking, singing, all of the things that kids do with each other on a late summer evening when they're soaking up the last of the warm weather.
Down the block there was a man pushing a lawn mower. There are few smells I like more than fresh-cut grass.
A block further, I found a father and son laughing as they rode their bikes in the other direction. It's not very often that one sees a father and teenage son just spending time together, but it's refreshing to see.
On the way to the library there's a 4-way stop that's a bit annoying to get through. There's a shortcut through a school parking lot, that I like to use. I still have to cross the same busy road, but there is traffic from only 2 directions rather than 4. So there I stood, straddling my bike, waiting for the traffic to clear. After I waited a couple minutes, a big white truck on a lift kit with a roaring muffler rolled to a stop in front of me. The diesel fuel was noxious and the muffler grumbled so loud it was hard to hear myself think. He sat there in the middle of the road like he was turning into the school parking lot. I moved over to be sure I didn't get run over and waited. There was no oncoming traffick, but still he didn't turn. I looked up to see if his turn signal was on and finally looked up at the cab. He was waiving for me to go. Here I had been thinking he was paying little attention, only to realize that he had stopped a line of traffick to let me through. A night in shining white armor?
As I cut behind the grocery store, the odor of the newly sealed asphalt was so strong it nearly burned my eyes. I'm pretty sure the gummy tar left some residue on my tires as I squished across the parking lot.
Just as I was thinking about the variety of things that I had smelled in just a short ride, I nearly spilled my graham crackers (that's a polite term for losing your lunch, for those of you that don't know my cousin Mary:) as I rode past a wall of dumpsters. Go figure. I'm sure a grocery store can work up a pretty good stink when they throw out expired wares.
The next thing I smelled was high on my list of favorites. Books. Old books. New books. Used books. My nose is happy every time I walk into the library. The only thing better is Barnes and Noble where they combine 2 favorites, books and coffee.
On the way home, there were some leaves blowing across the road. I don't know why. Fall has not fallen. Few leaves have even turned. Maybe they were there just for me and my olfactory delight. If they would have been burning, I would have had to slow down to take it in longer. Stop and smell the roses.......stop and smell the burning leaves.
Finally, I got home, put my bike away and headed out again for a take-out hawaiian pizza at B. Antonio's. (Our church's school was having a fund-raiser, so I had to do my part:) Mmmmmmm.....what better way to top off the afternoon than with ham, pineapple, bacon, and cheese?
Sometimes all it takes is the simple things to take your mind off a less than perfect day. God knew what he was doing when he gave us multiple senses. I tend to use them without consideing their value. Every once in a while, it's good to be reminded.