It’s pre-dawn and I’m up. It’s 5am. All right now, go ahead, you’re entitled to ask, why would anybody get up at 5am? Ultimately, you have to answer that for yourself, but I’ll tell you why I’m up at 5am. I’m keeping a commitment to myself. I promised myself I’d ride my bike at least twice a week and I will do it, period. My goal is 100 miles. I’m working up to it.
The morning air is delightfully refreshing. The pre-sunrise chill is intoxicating. I savor it, because I know it is fleeting. It will be hot when the Sun comes up. At 5:30am I’m on the bike and trying to remember how the legs work in order to make those pedals go round. I’m on my way.
When I first started riding, I rode around the Palm Desert Civic Center Park because it’s so perfect and beautiful and once around is about a mile and that’s about as far as I could go. Eventually I worked my way up to five times around and decided it was now time to leave the park and head out to further distances and faraway lands.
I begin by heading East along Fred Waring Drive on the North side of the street. Just East of San Pascual you come to a stunning silver sculpture called “Agave”. It is a giant shiny metal Agave plant. I continue east all the way to Cook Street where I then turn south and ride up to Highway 111. I ride on the South side of the Highway because that’s where the best sidewalk is, cycling East again all the way to Washington Street where I turn South.
Now I am getting a bit tired. I know I will soon turn around to head home, but I want to go just a bit further than I did last time, so I continue. I ride the sidewalk on the East side of Washington all the way down to Sagebrush. I’m ready to turn around.
Sometimes I take a pit stop at Walgreen’s or Trader Joe’s or Jensen’s or Starbuck’s to refresh. Several times along the way I stop for a B.R.B. (butt revitalization break), and also to hydrate. Proper hydration is very important when cycling long distances. Proper hydration is always important no matter what you’re doing.
I’ve turned around now and am heading back. I notice again all the wonderful things I noticed on the out leg, except this time I notice them even more because I’m going slower.
There are the swallows at the Highway 111 Bridge over the wash. And somebody has planted corn, now twelve feet tall, just inside a wall of a gated country club. There are often bunnies enjoying their breakfast of early morning dew covered grass. The aroma of honeysuckle and jasmine are also along the route. In spring, the trees are awash with flowers and color and heavenly scent.
All these distractions help me continue and forget I’m hurting. I know I’m more than half way home now and the thought of a cold shower comforts my mind and aching body. The hardest part of it all is waiting for the walk signals, however I take the opportunities to learn patience.
At last I turn onto my street. I’ve gotten a second wind and don’t want to slide into the driveway quite yet. I’m pretty sure I’ve enough energy left to take a tour around my block and see how the plants are doing in my front yard. I’m unwinding and breathing deep. I know when I get off the bike and sit down in the easy chair; I’ll be down and out for at least an hour. I call it meditation. Some call it a nap. I rejoice in the shower that I’ve done seventeen miles today. Next time I’ll do eighteen or perhaps even nineteen. And eventually I’ll reach my goal of one hundred miles.
I encourage everybody to get out there and exercise. It doesn’t have to be at dawn. It doesn’t have to be seventeen miles. Of course, consult your Doctor first, but get out there and exercise if you can. You’ll feel so much better, especially when it’s all over.
Why would anybody feed birds? Why should anybody feed the birds? There are so many reasons, let me count the ways, or at least list the ones why I feed the birds. Number one: It's great entertainment. I've never been one for sitting and watching the grass grow, but watching the birds feed? Now that's entertainment! I could sit and watch birds feed forever, or until my butt hurts, whichever comes first. I also enjoy listening to them. I love waking up to their soothing songs and gentle chatter. I spend about an hour each day watching the birds feed. I fill their feeders three times a day. It only takes a few moments and the expense is minimal. I buy five bags of seeds at a time. Each bag is ten pounds of black oil sunflower seeds and that will last me about two days if I'm lucky. I have birds feeding essentially from dawn 'til dusk. Apparently word has gotten out about the all-you-can-eat-buffet at my house. I have one feeder in which I put the sunflower seeds, and one feeder in which I put thistle seed. With two types of seeds, I attract a variety of birds. I'm no bird expert. I cannot tell you the name of each bird beyond what I personally call them. There's Martha, Dolomite, Laura, Petey, Heidi, etc. I don't know species. I just know I like watching birds feed. There's a beautiful little bird with a bright yellow chest that feeds on the thistle feeder. If anybody has an idea of what kind of bird this might be, please tell me, I'd love to know, but I don't need to know. It's enough for me to watch and enjoy the simple sight of the pretty birds. Feeding birds can't be any easier. I bought my feeder online, but you can buy one just about anyplace. Lowe's and Home Depot and Moeller's Garden Center all have a good selection of bird feeders, but you’ll find even more online. I buy my seed at Lowe's, five bags at a time. Feeding birds helps them stay healthy. If we didn't feed them, they'd have to find their own food and that's not so easy. And if we didn't feed them, we wouldn’t have the pleasure of watching them up close. But what are the benefits of feeding birds? I'll tell what I get out of it. I get a lot of peace and relaxation from feeding birds. I release all my stress watching birds feed. You simply cannot have any stress watching birds feed. Well maybe you can, but I can't. It's just so soothing watching those cute little birds jockey for position on the feeder so they can nibble away, one seed at a time. I also have seed cakes in cages. The birds love these too. These can be bought at Lowe's also. Another benefit I get from feeding the birds is one that some people get from meditation. Watching birds feed clears my mind of all the crap and clutter. My brain is refreshed and cleansed and I feel as though I can solve any problem and find every solution. The birds transfer their calmness to me and I am grateful. Birds have their one goal, food. This reminds me to do one thing at a time, and in doing so; I reach my goals, one at a time. This is a great and simple lesson given to us simply by watching birds feed. Do they know they're teaching us? Probably not, but I have often thought they are smarter. In my next life I am planning on being a bird. A bird that knows where all the neighborhood feeders are and only poops where it's not in anybody’s way. I highly recommend you feed the birds, because I believe your life will be far better. Please do let me know either way. Any questions about feeding the birds can be directed to me unless you really want expert advice and factual tips. A great place to visit is The Coachella Wild Bird Center. They’re at 46-500 Van Buren Street, Indio, CA, 92201-3454. Their telephone number is 760-347-2647. They’re open daily, but it is always best to phone ahead. I also highly recommend a BBC documentary called The Life of Birds. Netflix has this and I would hope Blockbuster does as well. Happy bird feeding.