One thing that has emerged as a great pleasure for my adult life has been biking. I really owe my spouse for re-introducing me to this. When we were dating in Ann Arbor, we went on regular rides in the Summer in the rural areas outside of town and it’s followed us as a feature of our lives ever since. In Chicago, our Summers and Falls feature long rides into downtown and so on. I prefer urban biking and I’ve biked to work whenever I can for the past 17 years.
The last two weekends, I’ve discovered a Cook County forest preserve about 10 miles away that is one of many such places that the urban county hides away a stash of wonderful greenery. I’m not sure how they do it, but these places are like gems where you can just disappear from the hustle and bustle of urban life. While I personally find more enjoyment in hitting the city on a bike, my spouse gets a lot of pleasure from the rural trips. In this case, I could find a place that was far enough away but which you could get to without lots of auto traffic and be rewarded with another hour of biking in a forest in the big city suburbs.
The first visit was by myself and a week later it was the two of us – not a pretty day: dripping skies, lots of humidity, but it was great. Even better is seeing her get out and enjoy it too. We don’t always see how we need these escapes until they happen to us. I mean, we plan them, but it still feels like they happen to us of their own volition somehow as well. It doesn’t cure the horrific events of the year 2020 or the disaster that has been the years since November, 2016, but it reminds our hearts that there’s good reason to keep beating and our lungs to keep breathing and our souls to keep jumping.