Thursday, April 14, 2005


April in central New Hampshire has early September's light and November's foliage. We get more than twelve hours of daylight with which to examine the brown ground, gray tree trunks and leafless branches.

Commuting Wednesday, I set out under gray skies, with the temperature just above freezing, hoping to see clearing skies soon, as promised.

Within a few yards I heard the unmistakable patter of sleet hitting the fallen leaves on the roadside. Then I saw the white pellets on my black sleeves.

Good luck. It stayed frozen and dry, with almost no rain mixed in.

The weather wasn't warm on the way home, but it was dry.

Commuting in the early season in northern New England, you often wear the layers in the morning and carry them in the evening, especially as what passes for spring advances. This leads me to under dress in the morning and over dress in the evening as I try to hit the balance correctly.

Far ahead lie the days when I will be able to throw a nylon wind vest over a jersey and shorts to beat the morning chill and carry it home in my pocket. As good as that sounds, I have learned to savor the long approach to it, because it is all too brief up here. But people gather too thickly and sicken the environment where life is easier. I bet that's why the Eskimos chose to live where they did. Not too many pushy neighbors if you don't count the polar bears. Not a lot of suburban igloo sprawl.

Bike commuting shows its benefits immediately in my wallet and waistline. Even with my fitness from ski season, 30 miles of cycling a day burns away the excess. Unused upper body muscle is quickly converted to energy or redistributed to the legs. And I haven't put gas in the car in more than two weeks. That's an immediate $40 savings.

I'll take a little cold and some adjustment aches and pains. And a second helping of supper and dessert. Life is to be enjoyed, and surrendered reluctantly. Joy is to be shared.


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