Took a ride yesterday to one of my favorite prayer chapels, the mouth of Crutcho Creek where it empties into the North Canadian River. Given the cold weather and lack of moisture, the river is way down, still cradling patches of ice in low-flow areas, and the trails along the banks were exceedingly dry and sandy. So it was a really good workout just trying to stay in the saddle in some places. This alluvial silt doesn’t cohere very well without a binder of some sort, like grass or maybe just enough water to keep it from being too muddy.
I didn’t realize trouble was brewing in my guts. I’ll skip the gory details but something I ate in the past 48 hours placed a time-bomb in my digestive tract. All it took was a failed attempt to boil down some wild blackberries into a slurry. I got the consistency I wanted, but there was something in it that my stomach couldn’t handle. For the first time in 50 years I lost my cookies, and I don’t even eat cookies any more. But it tasted like burned bacon. Since I seldom eat bacon at home, I knew it had to come from our meal at some new diner we checked out.
So today I’m not doing that well and it interfered with our weekly home worship. But looking back through the images I took was a peaceful re-acquaintance with the sweet moments I spent out there on the river. I didn’t catch them on camera, but a couple of fellows with fishing gear waded across that icy water between sandbars to a fishing spot where the river bends and the sandbar is really high and dry on the inside of the curve. They did their wading with pants rolled up; the ambient temperatures were above 60°F, but that water was not too far above freezing. They hooted about it a good bit.
After a while of communion with God and His Creation, I headed back upriver along the south bank on the trail I first encountered as a mud-bath a couple of years ago. There were a few reliable mud pits, but it was passable for my bike through the heavily wooded part starting at Midwest Boulevard and riding west. Once I got out into the open section about half-way around, it was somewhat pulverized by four-wheelers and such, so I often had to dismount and walk my bike. But it was still a good workout prior to getting sick.