A heat wave hit Northeast Iowa and we were finally experiencing what some consider “true Iowa summer weather.” The days are hot, humid, and unforgiving- something that apparently I do not have genetics for!
I went for an afternoon bike ride on the Trout Run Trail. The sun was out and beating down, sweat started to trickle from my brow almost instantly. One advantage of biking in the afternoon heat is that you may find that the trail is almost completely empty of other pedestrians. Times like this are perfect for me to have a more meditative ride and enjoy a ack of commotion.
The stunning greens against the blue sky motivated me as I climbed the switchback to the cut, up through the wooded area, providing a momentary reprieve from the sun. Coming out from tree-covered hill, you come across fields and gorgeous puffy clouds. I wanted to stop and take a picture. However, I felt if I stopped, I might not get started again. It was a quiet ride, minus hearing my bike buzz down hills and take corners. (In my head, I see myself as a budding pro. That is not reality!) When I began riding, I was fearful of speed and corners. Today, I’m dancing with my bike. I still consider myself a beginner, though vastly improved. Speeding around a corner, I felt the beads of sweat above my upper lip shift to the right. A headwind came and dried up the remaining moisture (for the time being.)
There is something a bit satisfying about riding out in the summer heat. It’s something that not many people feel they can do (or want to do). I feel my muscles loosen, the sun warm my skin, the sweat drip down my back. The effort of working up hills, keeping myself hydrated, wiping the sweat from my brow (to avoid getting it in my eyes), all of this is worth it.
The brilliant colors of Iowa, the round bales nestled out in the fields, the corn that is now several inches higher than my 5’2” stature. You can hear the birds clearly, the river flowing, and the fallen leaves crunching under the tires. Looking up at the trees, some of the leaves are overturned, indicating the hope of rain in the evening.
It’s worth sacrificing a little personal comfort to experience the beauty and nature of Northeast Iowa. Where I live is something I’ll never take for granted. I'll just continue to revel in the beauty of it.