As I set out on my bicycle early this morning the temperature was already in the 70’s and the air was thick and humid.  I was thinking about our recent 500-mile ride across Kansas and how this morning’s 20-mile ride wasn’t much in comparison.  All of the scenery across Kansas was new to me – the beauty of the plains and the rolling hills have left a mark on me, and yet today’s ride was going to be over city streets that I’ve ridden so many times before.  I set a goal to pay attention to the scenery and surroundings of today’s ride to see what I might find and experience.  As I headed east into the sun I knew there was a slight curve ahead where the cemetery trees would be shading the road, but I was amazed at the rays of sunlight piercing through the leaves amidst the haze of the humidity.  I continued on knowing that I’d be passing many lakes I’ve ridden by countless times.  I passed this scene, then turned around and went back to photograph.  In the quiet of the early morning two fishermen had a glass-like lake all to themselves — it reminded me of an old tourist postcard for the lakes of Minnesota.  I thought about sitting in the chair and watching them, but I suspected there might be more scenes waiting for me ahead.  I rode to a small prairie restoration area and was greeted by blooming butterfly milkweed and gray-headed coneflowers.  I passed a lake that we have fished on many times, yet today there wasn’t a boat in sight.  Instead there was flotilla of geese gliding quietly across the lake.  A mile further down the road and I spotted a shy doe grazing on the far side of a pond — close enough to the woods to be able to run inside if she felt threatened.  Feeling strong as I neared home I looked down and saw I was riding at 20 mph in a high cadence on a city street, much like the riding I’d enjoyed in the western flats of Kansas.  All the experiences of my ride today were ones that I could have easily passed by and not noticed, but the intention of seeing with fresh eyes had brought me an appreciation for what was here for me today, in this place, now.

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