On a recent ride along Cowley Twelve, I pedaled through the Little Mesas just east of the Walnut River. Not having sustained a regular discipline in recent weeks, I wasn’t in good road shape. My legs were sore and starting to cramp, especially on the uphill runs. In retrospect, riding the Flint Hills might not have been the best choice but I love the scenery.
As I headed up the second long hill past Wheat State Winery, I noticed a small pool of water collected below a large culvert. Part of the water’s surface was covered with algae, a spectacular green in the middle of December. The rest of the pool reflected a boundless blue sky and the closer surroundings of fence and pasture, brush and dried weeds. “What a wonderful picture that would make!” I thought, shifting to yet a lower gear.
“But,” I argued with myself, “I don’t want to stop here on this slope and then have to start out again going uphill.” In retrospect I realized I could have taken some pictures, then just turned around and headed downhill and back toward home. By the time I got back I would have covered around twenty-eight miles.
But I had my mind set on a thirty-two mile circuit and so I kept going. In spite of the hills.
Even on a cloudless day the sun still must set and when this day’s time was come, I was still five miles out. By the time I got back to Ark City, it was too dark to be safely seen on a bicycle without lights. I made it home okay but not without some trepidation on that last mile.
I am so used to listening for God’s voice in the call of Duty that I forget that he can also use the voice of Beauty to call us to a different path.