Date: April 6 and 7
Mileage: 12 and 29.5
April mileage: 188.8
Temperature: 41 and 39
I yelped as wet snow soaked through my socks, filling the empty space where I stood in a snowdrift, thigh deep and sinking. It was a struggle to even lift my leg in this slush, so close to liquidation that it had become a solid, like wet cornstarch or quicksand. A deceptive solid. Not solid enough to hold me, just solid enough to trap my foot - soon to be, I feared, trench foot.
I swung around to search for the trail. I had abandoned my bike a mile back to press on as a hike. Now I was swimming. It was time to swim home. Time to give up on this whole snow hiking/biking thing. Time to leave the mountains alone until their permanent surface re-emerged from this rotting seasonal veneer. Time to think about "summerizing" the Pugsley to prepare him for the season of salt water and sand. Time to give up on winter.
So we wait now, for something. Summer, I guess. I know summer only in vague terms. It begins the day the Mount Juneau trail finally clears; the day the first black bear makes a raid on the Rainbow Foods dumpster; the day I can finally wear bike shorts. Geoff, on the other hand, knows exactly when summer begins. He has the date marked on the calendar. April 22, 6 p.m. The day the last spring ferry heads south out of Juneau.
Then I will be alone all summer long, and it's starting to sink in. I remember the last time I lived alone in Juneau, watching 2 a.m. Cartoon Network in a damp hotel room and eating my best meals at the Safeway deli. I like to think I can keep my own bad habits in check. But then I think about the Subway guy who saw me so many times he had my *exact* sandwich memorized and even asked me out, and remember there are fates worse than loneliness.
Geoff asks me every day why I don't just leave with him. "Because I have plans," I say. "Because I have cats," I say. "Because I have health insurance," I say. "Because I have a job," I say.
"Always with the jobs," he says.
"I need to feel like I have a grasp on the future," I say.
"And that too," he says.
When I'm at work is when I feel most content about my decision to stay. It's earlier, when Geoff is elsewhere and my time is only mine, that I wonder why it's so right to aspire to life in front of a computer screen and so wrong to aspire to life on a bike ... even with cats to support.
But then I ride my bike and feel happy. And I go to work and feel content. And the snow will climb higher up the mountains. It will finally disappear. And then it will return. Not every moment inbetween has to be an adventure. There will be time for that later. Always later.