I’m in the middle of finals, which means I’m busily grading grading grading. So when R. suggested we get together with S. for a grading marathon, I was sold. After grading at home all morning, I hopped on the bike and headed down to the Marigny for a blueberry muffin, coffee, camaraderie, and a whole bunch of reading journals. We took a break to do our late afternoon tasks–dog walking, trip to the office, and, for me, a bike ride. I decided to do a quick loop down Chartres and then back up the St. Claude bike lane before hitting the gym to earn a nap in the steam room–I love a little bike infrastructure! I stopped at the dead end at Poland and got off the bike to hunt around for my gloves (I’m still getting a hang of this whole winter thing). I remember the first time I rode a bike all the way from my house to this spot. I was meeting S. and friends at the wine place, and I was all dressed up in a green halter dress to go out afterward, feeling awfully cute pedaling along on my pink bicycle. Secretly, though, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it all the way. I’d never actually ridden that far before. But I made it, and it felt great. A couple years later, though, and this is just a quick jaunt, no big deal, and one I take almost every week, whether or not I need to be in this neighborhood. Sometimes I pause to think how riding my bike everywhere as my sole means of transportation has become second nature, common sense. I can barely remember when this wasn’t how I organized my time. And no matter how many times I ride the same routes, I’m still amazed that there’s always something new to see. I see this fence all the time, but today I saw the leftover tendrils of what once climbed here and the stem lacing itself through the chain link. How do vines know how to do that?