Last Ride of 2014
There have been several occasions over the past few years when I have experienced moments of such intense contentedness and well-being that it seemed as if the entire universe was telling me “you are exactly where you should be right now”. One of those occasions was last Sunday – my birthday – December 14.
I love the fact that our weather on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula is such a toss-up, it keeps life interesting. At the mercy of winds and ocean currents, our weather can change in a flash and seasons are unpredictable. Last year, winter started in early December with bitter cold, with several feet of snow down by Christmas. This year there is barely a flake to be seen, and temperatures have been as much as 15 degrees above normal.
I awoke on my birthday to begin my usual Sunday routine: check the weather and go for a run. When I clicked onto Environment Canada though, I could scarcely believe my eyes. +12 degrees C., no wind, and no rain at least for the morning. That settled it, I was spending the morning on my motorcycle. Happy birthday to me!
It was no trouble to get Mark on board with my plans. We left the house without even having breakfast, not wanting to waste a minute of riding time in December. The traffic was light, with the crazed Christmas shoppers still waiting for the mall to open, and we scooted through the downtown and up to Confederation Building so that I could get a shot of our bikes with the Christmas tree.
After a quick coffee and a bite to eat at Tim Horton’s in Mount Pearl, we rode through the Waterford Valley and across to South Side Road. Mark pulled off onto a dirt road, crossing a water-and-mud-filled ditch to get around a gate. I parked the ‘Strom and jumped on the back of the DR650 and we headed up the hill to a look-out point next to a bunker-ish building from the 1950’s.
With the bike shut off, the silence was broken only by church bells playing Christmas carols on the other side of the harbour. The notes hung in the moist, warm air, transported towards us by the gentlest of breezes. We stayed there for at least half an hour, taking it all in. It was strange to look at the old city in December, the thousands of trees stripped of their leaves, without any snow to cover the nakedness. The unique architecture stood out more, the colours of the famous row-houses contrasted with each other more. It actually looked like the city was made entirely of Lego’s.
Standing there, looking out over the city that I love, I felt like the stars had aligned and the universe had provided me with the most perfect birthday gift. I was in what I call my “Happy Place”, a state of tranquility and contentedness, and I made efforts to mentally bottle and store the feeling so that I can return to it during the cold, stormy days of the coming winter.