I woke this past Saturday in the mood for a bike ride – a long bike ride. I drank coffee and surfed the net until my wife woke up. I talked her into dropping me off on the other side of the James River Bridge, so I could ride the loop north through Smithfield, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown and back home to Newport News.
At 9 AM, my wife drove away and it was just me and my bike. I started riding. After an hour and a half, the sun was getting higher in the sky and the temperatures were rising as well. Combine this heat with a semi-substantial cross wind that steadily buffeted me, I was looking forward to a few trees. One particualr stretch of this route that I look forward to is an area where the road enters a stand of trees. It reminds me of the Arenberg Forest, the legendary cobblestoned section of the Paris Roubaix. Except this section doesn’t have cobblestones, nor is it lined 4 deep with crazy, drunk fans screaming their heads off. Imagine my shock when I reached this highly anticipated section and this is what my eyes beheld.
I was straddling my bike trying to take in the devastation when a pick-up truck pulled along side me and the old gentlemen driving asked, “taking a picture of the war zone?” I asked him what happened. I could hear the sadness and bitterness in his voice when he said, “the damn loggers came in, that’s what happened!” He nodded to the opposite side of the road, where the trees still stood tall and proud.
“That’s my side” he said, “they’ll never touch it”. Then he drove away.
Our planet needs a few more men like that old man. I rode on.