Only a few miles out on a thirty-mile ride Saturday morning, I knew that something was up. I was breathing harder than usual, even on the relatively flat parts of the ride. (Relax, folks; there’s no heart attack in this story.) Usually when I’m biking east by Duncan Park, I’m easing along, enjoying the view of woods and boulders on the north, tree-lined fields on the south.
Saturday, I was pushing my way toward the curve that sweeps up the low ridge and turns north. Even on that low flat section I was breathing hard. By the time I got to the top of the rise, I was really sucking air and could feel my heart pounding in my chest.
I eased up on the pedaling and kept going, though slow enough to catch a bit of rest and my breath. “What in the world is wrong with me today?” I wondered. “I rode this same route a week ago without any problem.” I shook my head, wondering if a week without exercise could make that much difference. About the time I decided it apparently could make that much difference, I noticed the long grass on the shoulder and road bank to my right. It was bending toward me, swaying a bit in the pulses of the wind.
“Well,” I said to myself, “that would explain it!” Based on the weather forecast for the day, I’d expected a slight breeze, something that would barely bend the tall, slender stalks. This was something more than that. Enough something to make what was usually easy a moderate task and turn what was usually tasking into an outright chore.
So, being the natural glutton for punishment that I am, I rode a few miles more and then turned directly into the wind. I knew it would be harder that way and I could have turned east instead of west and taken a shorter and easier route back home.
Sometimes, though, the easier route does not take us where we want to go, especially when we are trying to follow the Higher Way.