The week fades into the distance in the dust of this old red dirt road behind me. Redbud trees have already paraded their purple blossoms, bowing to the dogwoods that now decorate the emerging green hillsides. The humid breath of evening air belies this first day of April. I am a child again, on my bicycle, attacking the hills and flying with naïve delight into the shadows of the valleys.
The whole world catches fire with the setting sun. It is unusually warm. We turn from the country road and follow the brand new Crabtree Cove Trail that winds around the east shores of Stockton Lake. The trail leads you to the top of bluffs that cradle a flooded quarry. The view of the sunset from the rim demands that we stop and pay our respects.
This is a night for wild surprises and thrills. Riding in silence, you never know what you are going to see. My sister and I cross from the trail and emerge across the Stockton Lake Dam. I am so high above the Sac River below, I feel as if I can fly. Turkey vultures surprise me as they ride the thermals below and around me. I find myself riding alongside a handsome young red-headed specimen, attempting, without success to match the perfection of his grace.
There is no sound, but suddenly a flash of white catches my eye. A flock of 23 American White Pelicans fly directly overhead! In Missouri? These birds actually migrate through Missouri from the Gulf of Mexico each year. They are stoic sentinels stunning against the brilliant blue sky.
The sun dips further and I will need to rush home. I pull my eyes from the sky, place my feet upon the pedals and sigh with regret.