2 Nov 2022
By Kathi Ferguson
I like to ride my bicycle not far from my home, often reflecting on some of the many reasons why I love living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The route I take tends not to vary, but it is never boring. On any given day, pedaling down towards Cedar Point (“points” are where the land narrowly extends into a body of water), magical moments occur that never fail to catch my eye.
My outbound trip leads to a long stretch of fields on my left, and on the right are rows of majestic loblolly pines. While a few fields are left open, most are planted with corn. Beautiful wildflowers in colors of goldenrod yellow and cornflower blue grow randomly on the side of the road, attracting a fleeting butterfly or two. Aside from the occasional car or truck passing by, the sounds that surround me are nature’s alone.
It is late afternoon on this early autumn day, which usually means the deer will be gathering near the tree line to feed. Some venture further out into the grass, heads alert upon hearing me approach. During the summer months, it is not unusual to witness several of these agile creatures popping up out of nowhere leaping through the corn fields with ease. On this ride, I spot a family of deer hunkered down in a small grove of trees up ahead. Cautious to be sure, my presence is heeded, but the group decides I am not a threat and resume their activity—a special treat for me today.
Soon to reach a fork in the road, I decide to bear to the left this trip, heading up a slight incline before rounding a soft curve. Up ahead stands a very large, impressive brick barn with towering silos of a similar color attached. No one is around when I arrive, but large tire tracks heading to and from the field across the street show evidence of recent activity. It is here that I enjoy taking a break, and lean my bike up against the wooden fence. The clear blue skies are vast as the sun begins setting behind a dense row of perfectly shaped trees in the distance, casting dramatic shadows across the land. I am convinced that there is no light more captivating.
Onward, the child in me comes out as I approach a not-so-steep hill. It takes a little time, but I get up to speed, take my feet off the pedals, and gleefully cruise down to the end of the road! Here, a right turn points me in the direction of home. Just ahead, something resembling a small dog crosses my path, stopping about half way before darting into the brush. My timing was right. Catching more than a glimpse of a grey fox is rare, as they typically only make their appearance from dusk to dawn.
Temperatures are cooler now, but the sun warms my back as I leisurely enjoy the last leg of my ride. The wind emits a different tone, still whispering through the pines, but sounding sharp and crisp as it blows through the fields of dry corn stalks waiting to be harvested. I cannot help but notice fewer songbirds, whose melodic tunes will soon give way to the distinct honking of Canada geese filling the sky.
My rides ahead will undoubtedly be filled with the anticipation of more special moments waiting to reveal themselves. Mother Nature never fails to set the perfect stage here on the Shore and I will always be ready to indulge in her breathtaking performance.