All around me the COVID-19 storm swirls, and disagreement concerning it seems to grow more each day. The ordeal tries us. But during this morning’s ride, I found myself in what appeared to be the eye of this raging storm.
A heavy, dark cloud cover floated in over my right shoulder from the west. It calmed the morning breeze and everything else. But for the birdsong: The brown thrasher talked from the holly hedgerow to anyone who was interested; A bluebird chattered as it flew to rest on the roof of an abandoned titmouse nesting box; One robin called to anyone listening while gathering morsels from the drainage ditch out front; And a water scattering of splashing from the birdbath told of a cleaner cardinal; A clamoring from above the tall pine trees revealed a chasing away of an intruder by the vigilant crows.
The sweet aroma from the privet across the road covered the scene like a mother’s blanket spread over her child. Its sweetness floated to the pine tops, lay across the ground, and wafted through the air giving me cause to inhale deeply its strong, yet relaxing scent.
Riding into this calm of the storm, I hand-cranked vigorously and maintained, at least on my odometer, 16 miles per hour. Listening and seeing and smelling it all, I rode into the power of this moment, applauding its grace.
Thirty minutes later, the ride finished, I knew something special had occurred. Yes, I ride my stationary handcycle here next to my shop each morning. I see the coming of day, greet walking neighbors, compliment their dogs and children, and manage to break a bit of a sweat while exercising arms and lungs. But this morning’s ride was more than mere exercising on a stationary handcycle. A gifted grace of peace had happened there beneath the thirty-nine mature pines. A calm after the first onslaught from the COVID-19 and a calm before its next; a moment of nature’s balm; a gift from God far from the turmoil raging outside.