Introspective Ride Home

A brief respite from the wonky policy posts of the last few days.

Vintage checked flat cap and JC Pennys gabardine jacket were estate sale finds. I can't even remember when or where I thrifted the 50s era charcoal wool pants. Surrounded by grey, I felt a bit lost on my way home Monday.

Colors, or the lack of them, can have a powerful effect on the psyche. Pedaling home yesterday through the concrete canyon of downtown, my monochromatic outfit and the grey clouds overhead put me in an introspective mood.  My normally overactive brain seemed stuck in neutral.  The gears were spinning, but disengaged. 

The Menomonee River just east of Miller Park.

Despite the headwind, I decided to take the long way home along the Hank Aaron State Trail in search of something to jolt me out of my doldrums.  Spring seems a bit behind schedule this year, and even the prairie in the Menomonee Valley offered no restorative stimulus.  But as the 10 ft wide ribbon of bleached asphalt turned north and pushed me closer to the river, I heard some splashing.  Looking down the bank I witnessed a lucky soul with a fish on.  Being a witness to the beautiful but violent struggle for life shook me mentally.

As I continued along the river I saw others wading in the turbulent waters, all of them casting their hopes over and over again, miming a pleasant metaphor for life. When I reached the northern bridge over the river, I parked my bike, climbed the concrete wall to sit and watch for a bit.  The river coursed with color, a sign of the life within. I wondered at the permanence of water. All the water that ever was and ever will be flows today. Burn a gallon of gas, it is gone forever.  Drink a glass of water and a trout will swim in it tomorrow. I only sat for a few minutes when I felt my color return.  Restored, I climbed down from my perch and hopped back on my bike.

On a bike, it is easy to pull over, pause and soak up a little of what nature has to offer.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

10 thoughts on “Introspective Ride Home

  1. The surprising intermingling of nature and city is a major part of why I love Milwaukee and biking in it. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    • No, I can’t listen to the radio at work. Did they have a story on water or the trail? If so, odd coincidence, and I ran into a WPR reporter at the bike expo. I did not want to get into too much detail, but I was drinking a water bottle on the way home and I had to pee while watching the fishing. That is one reason why I did not stay too long, but it did prompt my thoughts about the circular nature of water.

    • If you were listening to WUWM between 6:30 and 7, you would have heard a little story on Marketplace about a book called “The Big Thirst”.

      I seem to recall the author of the book saying that we needed to get serious about water conservation and reusing “gray water”. He said something like, “all the water that we have on earth now has been on earth for billions of years. It’s all gone through a dinosaur kidney at some point, or had dinosaur poo in it.” I think that’s what Jason was referring to?

  2. Last Thursday and last Saturday, I took the Hank Aaron Trail to do a couple of errands. On Saturday, I took the trail toward Miller Park and took the Miller Park Way spur to my usual sneaky way to Beloit Rd. Before I turned off, I noticed the Denis Sullivan docked near where Mr. Picasso stays. I had to buy spare camera batteries at Sherper’s where I’m getting new shock cord and new ends on my tent poles and a new tent bag. When I returned, I got a shot of the Denis Sullivan, Milwaukee’s tall ship.

  3. I think it is offically spring today, sunny, warm, and there was a shortage of bike parking at Alterra on Pittsburgh!!! Those lime green and orange chairs give some spring color to the scene.

  4. Just a sort of sideways comment on the circular nature of water in nature . . . if you burn a gallon of gasoline it is indeed gone, but one of the main byproducts is – water vapor!

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