Monday, February 1, 2021

Microstory 1551: Color of the Sky

I run outside and find the sky has turned green.

Not a good sign. I call my mom, who is in town, and she says she’ll come get me. I grab my waders and run for the truck, just as a huge thunderclap sounds and the sky begins pouring rain. My phone dies after two tries. It is super annoying because I am outside with no coverage, but I can’t tell my mom that because she’s not answering her phone. I go to leave the house, and as I open the door, it occurs to me that I do not have a hat. The moment I leave, the sky clears up, and it is a gorgeous day. I spend the day wandering around town, shooting the scenery. In the evening, I camp on one of my favorite places on the lake. I have to walk about a mile to get to my campsite, and I run into a nice guy who is also setting up his tent. We talk for a bit, then he says, “I’ve got a campsite right across the street. Are you hungry?” I get to camp and make my dinner. I’m lying on the ground trying to figure out what to do for my tomorrow when a couple of guys appear out of nowhere. They take me on a two mile hike, then we sit around a campfire and they share their beers with me. It was a pretty sweet experience, even though I couldn't understand a word they were saying. I wake up bright and early, and it is sunny and gorgeous. I have decided that after finishing this section, I will be going home and taking some time off. After a day of riding, I hit the road, and it is amazing. I’ve come a long way in the past week, and I’m feeling strong and confident. My plan is to climb the entire thirteen miles of a paved highway to meet my first Expert level rest stop, and then drop down to town and restock, which will get me a little bit closer to the summit. This is a difficult section, but my body is feeling good and I’m getting plenty of rest. As I ride, I fall into a rhythm. I push a little bit, and then I ease up a bit. I don’t need to save my legs for the big climbs. I know from experience that I can handle anything from the present moment, and it is much less stressful that way. I finish the day and it is amazing. I’ve caught up to Tim, and we ride together through the night, chatting about climbing, life, motorcycles, everything. It feels so good to share this experience with someone else. It helps break up the monotony, but I don’t have to be the one to carry the conversation. We ride together through the night and camp at the second highest rest stop. It is freezing cold. We...

...look up at the sky, and find that it has now turned purple. It is no longer a gorgeous day, and I realize how much I dislike Tim. It’s nice to have someone else around sometimes, when I don’t have anyone else, but as I’m watching the orangish clouds roll overhead, I realize that I can do better than this. Without saying a word, I stand up, take off all of my clothes, and ride out of the campsite. I imagine Tim watching me go with total apathy, but only because he does nothing to stop me from going. It feels amazing, being out here, knowing how close I am to frostbite or death. My life is pretty boring, and you have to find ways to push yourself to your limits, or you’ll never amount to anything. The harder I pedal, the warmer I get, proving to me that I can do just about anything if I ignore the risks, and press on. I’m wrong, though. As the sky falls into a deep red, and the sun melts away, I look down at my blue fingers and toes. I was dying the whole time, but it’s not like I could have stopped it. The sun continues to disappear, taking everyone on the planet with it.

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