Thursday, May 17, 2007

What Thel Saw

On Cloverdale
A brown-and-white pit bull is resting halfway out of an open second-story window, his front legs casually crossed, looking contemplatively out at the street like a jowly middle-aged man planning his escape.

On Lake Washington Boulevard
There is a woman wearing a yellow jacket and black shorts, her curly grey hair flowing in the breeze, who rides her bicycle every morning along Lake Washington Boulevard. She rides south in the mornings and north in the evenings, so we cross paths with a nod on the days that I ride. She, however, rides every single day. I have seen her every morning from my car for the past three or four months, rain or shine. Usually in the mornings when I drive our paths cross just at the top of the Seward Park hill--the same hill I had to get off and walk up the first time I encountered it. She crests it smoothly, seated, her legs moving sedately. When I ride my bike I am on the road much earlier, and our paths cross up north of I-90. She rides with just as much easy grace on the flatter road there--not for her the hunched-over grimace and the racing whirl. She gives me a slow nod without losing cadence, and I feel like I've crossed paths with a queen.

The best thing Thel saw
Coming up away from the lake near the end of my ride, the road climbs through a series of S-curves. Non-athlete that I am, I always slow down to become the pokiest little puppy imaginable up that hill. This morning just where the slope begins, a bad-ass man came whizzing up past me, clad in black and blue spandex. Perched high up on his back was a wee pink backpack sporting the Dora the Explorer logo. I only had a few moments to take it in before he was gone around the corner, far fitter and faster than I. And although you didn't bother calling "on your left" as all the polite bicyclists do, I salute you, swift athletic Dora-loving man.