On Sunday morning I woke up early as usual. It was still dark when I left my building to go for my Starbucks coffee. I was met by a cruel gust of wind funneling between the two highrises. It was a spooky morning. The sidewalk was still wet with the night’s rain and drops from the partially denuded trees blew onto my face as I hurried along. Piles of yellow leaves lay all over the sidewalks and the grass.
Though the darkness, cold, and dead leaves made the world seem forlorn, my spirit felt at peace, as always, with the quiet and solitariness of Sunday morning. I decided I would go out for my morning bike ride as planned—unless it started pouring.
An hour and a half later, when Keith and I brought our bikes out of the building, the day had changed completely. It was still cool, but the sunrise made everything glow with bright colours. The sky still held clouds, but they were mixed with patches of brilliant blue.
My spirits were high. I had slept well for the first time in over a week, after all the stresses of travelling, extra work shifts to make up for my time away in Ontario for my brother’s wedding, worry about my mother’s health (she had been sick in the hospital for two weeks) and all the other uncertainties of my unpredictable life. I was eager to ride into such a beautiful day.
It could only be a short ride because I would have to leave time to eat a good breakfast and prepare for work. Well, my philosophy is if it’s short, make it intense. I decided to lead Keith on a tour of Port Moody that would include all the hilly back roads south of St. Johns Street. We could finish off with the more familiar scenic ride taking in the Rocky Point Pier and the bike path around the Inlet.
We flew down Clarke Street to the Barnet Highway, but then turned left heading for Port Moody Secondary. Our hardest climb was up to the top parking lot of the school. From there, we had a superb view of Burnaby Mountain. It was lit up like a multi-coloured torch by the recent sunrise. I regretted not bringing my camera!
After reaching the school parking lot, we took a roller-coaster back road through Port Moody to Port Moody Junior’s gravel track, where I often do my 5K runs. Only on Sunday morning is it possible to ignore the stop signs and freak out on the downhills. Once we got to the track, I concentrated on going all-out for a few kilometers. Keith was the rabbit I tried to lap.
After that hard effort, we headed to Rocky Point Pier, where we paused very briefly to enjoy the view of the Inlet and the North Shore mountains. The bike path to Old Orchard Beach and Alderside road wasn’t yet crowded so we were able to ride at a decent pace. I wanted to breathe hard, to inhale the cold air laden with the scent of the dead leaves that rustled and crunched under my wheels. Keith surprised me by trying to race me on the last kilometer back. What a fun ride!
As I drive smoothly onto the Second Narrows Bridge and ascend its slope, the North Shore Mountains are in front of me. They never fail to knock me out with their majestic, implacable presence. This morning’s colours are so stunning I can hardly bear the beauty.
Drake’s song “Hold On, We’re Coming Home” comes on the radio and I’m exploding with ecstasy, so many pleasure neurons firing at the same time. The hypnotic, longing music—the mountain vision—my body perfectly tuned by that hard spontaneous bike ride—I’m at a peak, everything I love about Sunday morning crystallized. My spirit in this moment is like the mountains: huge with promise and infinite mystery.