Swan at Audubon Park

Today I put on short sleeves and a skirt and rode the bike up to campus in 70 degree weather. Oh, New Orleans in December, how I love your occasional spring day! After coffee with a student and a quick stop at the office, I pedaled over to Audubon Park for a quick spin around before heading to the grocery. The path was crowded with people enjoying this unseasonably warm day: kids on bikes, a woman trying to go for a run with a puppy, mature dogs talking their humans on walks, a rollerblader, and a guy in a weighted vest jogging. The bike racks were full and golf carts zipped back and forth across the path. It was a regular postcard out there. Continue reading

Blighted Attic at Gallier & Law

Today’s bike ride took be down to the Bywater for lunch with J. The sun was out, I was in short sleeves, that asphalt on Camp in the CBD is still like butter, and I felt lucky to be here now as I zipped along. By the time we were done the clouds were rolling in and I got to ride around in a whole different kind of day, this one darker and cooler. I pedaled up Chartres and over the sharrows before taking a left on Mazant toward the Upper Ninth Ward. I rode around that neighborhood, up and down the streets, doing laps, struck, as always, how different it is over here on the flood side of St. Claude. Continue reading

Loose Gravel in Pits on Baronne Between Josephine & Jackson

A couple lovely days in the Delta and it was time to head back to New Orleans, so I strapped the bike to the back of the car (and yes, I spent the entire ride staring at it in the rear view mirror, pretty sure it was about to fly off–can anyone explain how that flimsy thing can hold anything on my car while I drive 75 down the interstate?), loaded in S. and the dog and the new snazzy Christmas record player, and we were off. Continue reading

Flocks of Birds Over Inverness, MS

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Ok, I’ll admit it. When I woke up to gray skies and blustery winds, I considered *not* taking a bike ride today. I mean, I enjoy spending time in the smallest chain ring, but I just wasn’t sure I felt like working that hard this morning. S. pointed out that I could always go out for a short ride and come right back. Excellent plan. I donned my layers, took a right out of the driveway this time, and headed toward town. About half a mile in I was reminded that it is always a good idea to go for a ride. The wind wasn’t bad and the views went on forever. I stopped right before Inverness to watch a couple of horses snack on hay, and I heard the gurgles of so many birds. I snapped this picture of part of the crazy stretch of birds flying together against the clouds. Everyone was headed the same direction, but at intervals three or four would turn around and, in my anthropomorphizing mind, work as crossing guards, herding everyone into lines, keeping things orderly. They were noisy and beautiful and I was completely irrelevant–perfect. I rode through and around the silent town, outrunning dogs, studying cypress in the bayou, wondering if that was a cotton gin, and then headed home to a hot shower, an extra soft, extra large sweater, and some footbal. Like I said, perfect.

Tree on Sunflower River Road in Sunflower County

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I am spending the holiday in the Mississippi Delta with my pal S., her parents, two dogs, and my bicycle. I’ve been here before, but today after a delicious breakfast and present opening (how did you know I would love that old postcard of Le Petit Theatre in the Quarter!), I took the bike out for my first ride. I took a left out of the driveway and just rode and rode, crossing the Sunflower River, passing empty field after empty field, staring up at endless cloudy skies. I saw cardinals and blue jays and other little birds I couldn’t name. (Somebody should give me a field guide to nature for Christmas next year.) The view was so empty, except for the occasional stand of trees or ones like this–solo by the side of the road. I saw five cars, two dogs, and a whole lot of beer cans, but mostly I felt like I might be the only person in the world. And I liked it. I turned back around to make it home for dinner, and those headwinds, with no breaks, gave me the opportunity to discover gears I never knew I had. A Delta Christmas just keeps on giving.

DNA Testing and Extras Wanted at Simon Bolivar & MLK, Jr.

I spent this holiday day lolling around the house, reading a book and watching TV and baking sweet potatoes. But then it was just plain time to get on the bike. I ran some errands, stopped at A.’s for a chat and some time staring at her cats, and then headed downtown to meet S. for food and holiday shopping–thwarted for her, but a winner for me as I chugged another Seasonal Latte. On my ride I was thinking about how advertising has become absolutely ubiquitous, and it only picks up this time of year, when we are all supposed to be buying things for each other, no matter our means or our desires. Continue reading

Davis Bayou From the National Park Visitor’s Center

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Ok. I’m going to admit it. I was scared to sleep outside, all by myself. I have been camping with other people–my dad, friends who I haven’t known well enough to say no to–but I really want to be able to go alone. I’ve got the biking part of the bike trip down–now I need to figure out how to sleep through the night so I can ride again the next day and get to the next place. So yeah, ten hours of sleep later, and the First Time is out of the way. But I need to figure out how to feed myself–so hungry! Anyway. I got up, ate a grapefruit, took down the tent, and headed to the Visitor’s Center on bike, in case they had the coffee I left at home. I locked up on an overgrown bike rack, walked around the building, sat on a bench, and snapped a photo of this view. If “camping” means this is at the end of your commute, I’m in.