The Morning Commute

Squinting against the sun that ricocheted across the dark waters of Lake Michigan, I flipped my bike into seventh gear and maneuvered the potholes and cracks along the Path with an overconfident energy. The air was cold and pricked at my ears and cheeks as I tried to pedal faster despite the higher resistance. I wanted to sweat.

I leaned in deeply with my left shoulder, rounding the bend by the totem pole that seemed out of place among the cars and tennis courts and canvased sails in the harbor. The reds and browns of the Chicago skyline stretched into the blue sky and towered above me like soldiers at attention.

Fall was opening up, an egg fully cracked, and the golds were spilling out everywhere. Whipping across the sidewalks and stretches of grass, leaves twirled about in mini tornadoes, dancing the jig of the season. I thought of apple cider.

Passing an older man on his ten-speed, I strained to say a ‘good morning’ as I cruised by. The salutation halted in my throat as if it were a tiny child sprawled out rigidly against the sides of a slide, stuck at the top in fear of the quick decent. It made me sad to think that such a simple gesture of human connection would cause my heart to beat faster than my morning workout.

The path made a slight attempt at an incline and the lake shimmered along the eastern horizon. I realized how lucky I was to have this sort of morning commute. No talk radio, no crawl along the “express” way, no claustrophobic trains, just the cold wind startling my senses and the quiet “whoosh” of the air as I sped along toward the Loop.

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