Scolding Lizards :: Rejoicing in the Sun

The Prayer of St. Francis near Brown Mountain

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
If Summer Ever Arrives
2011 has been a frigid year in Southern California, a welcome relief for some, a hindrance for others. This indeed may be the first week of actual summer weather- 80s during the day and 50s in the evening. With this warm weather I feel more comfortable going out on the bike. No arm warmers, no vest, no knee warmers. No wondering what I need to bring on the ride– in case the descent from the top is misty and cold. There is no game, just pure shorts and jersey weather. It’s mid-June for crying out loud.
My regular route, which if you read my blog at all you already know, is El Prieto and Brown Mountain. Brown Mountain is a comfortable ride, like my favorite pair of shoes worn just to the point of being worn out. So comfortable and form fitting. Like a plate of black eyed peas, fried green tomatoes and okra. Comfort food. Home. Brown Mountain. El Prieto.
The sun is here and that is mostly good, however there is a problem. The problem with the sun is the sun seekers. Aside from myself, there are throngs of sun seekers crowding the trail and I have been a victim of many near-crashes due to the language barrier with these throngs. They don’t really listen or even understand the phrases “bike back”, “on your left” or even the simple “hi” to perhaps suggest a sharing of the trail.
No, these throngs, they dart in front of you from a safe position at the last moment as you try to pass carefully. Then they run just in front of your wheel– *scurry*scurry*scurry* pause *scurry*scurry*scurry* pause *scurry*scurry*scurry* pause left, no! right!
“Ah!” as I steer off the trail and into the giant Scottish Brooms and Lupines, not crashing, but nearly as my wobbly front wheel, subjected to heavy braking on the uphill can’t find any footing in the washed away mountainside.
“Lizard!” I cry out. “Bad lizard!”
I spend half of my ride scolding lizards. I don’t care to play God or to be a part of Darwin’s theory. I don’t want to run over a lizard, and in such avoidance, I nearly crash.
The lizards love the sun, and of course, the best sun is right on the trail where the ground is relatively smooth and heavily bathed in direct sunshine. We all wish to be in the same exact spot. I can’t and I don’t blame the lizards. They have every right, I just wish they’d move off to one side, or even just stay in place as I pedaled by. But this scurrying and pausing and last minute change of direction! Incredibly vexing!
From the road I drop in to the singeltrack trail. Mostly shaded by live oaks and cool, I find relief from worry of the lizards. I struggle and flow and relax to the sound of the chain, my wheels misplacing rocks, and the click of the shifters. I take the shortcut back home.
As I ride out of El Prieto I pass the car hood with the St. Francis of Assisi poem (which may or may not be actually written by St. Francis of Assisi). It is beautiful nonetheless, and I reflect. I would that I could bring light into darkness, and love so much that hatred ceased  to exist.
I pedal on home as the hot wind melts my icy spirit– summer is here at last. Alas, I will have several more lizards to scold on the way home as they indulge in the hot decomposed granite mountainside.
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