31 March 2014


Wie Wasser von Klippe Zu Klippe geworfen 
Jahrlang in's Ungewisse hinab.
Though I always envied them and their well-coordinated ways, I was never a sports-kid growing up. I never played Little League or Pop Warner, and the truth is I really didn't want to.  I knew from the school playground that I lacked the innate abilities my friends possessed to catch and run and tackle and all else that was required to play ball-sports with finesse.  

But I've always loved to sing.  And it's my good fortune that many of my teachers recognized my passion for singing from an early age.  Despite the fact that my voice is neither golden nor unique, in lieu of membership on seasonal sports teams I have always felt at home as a member of a choir or an ensemble of singers.  I've been able to find interesting groups with which to sing pretty consistently throughout my life. 

Until quite recently I sang for several years with a small ensemble at our church.  It was also my great pleasure to sing for many years with the Master Chorale of Flagstaff.
Like water from thrown down from cliff to cliff forever,
Destined to disappear below.

We had the chance to learn and perform a number of great choral master-works during my time with the Chorale including Poulenc's Gloria, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and Brahms' Schicksalslied (to which I am listening as I write).  

The Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) is an especially awesome, evocative piece of music, and it springs to my mind often when I am out riding, especially whenever I am in the vicinity of streams of flowing water, as I was this past Sunday morning. 

I don't speak German, but I love the line Wie Wasser von Klippe Zu Klippe geworfen, Jaharlang in's Ungewisse hinab which I think literally means: like water thrown down from cliff to cliff forever, destined to disappear below

The Schicksalslied is an amazingly powerful and enchanting work to sing and the memory of rehearsing and performing it is seared into my mind. It will forever remain one of the high-points of my choral lifetime as well as an essential earworm while riding.

21 March 2014

Her mother's nose and chin

She has her mother's nose and chin and beaming, bright smile.  But I am pleased to say she seems to share my affinity for bikes and trails and the woods.

As I write this on a Friday afternoon before dinner time, I am pleased to report that I am some 16 hours into my week of riding, which is pretty amazing.  If all goes well for me between now and Monday morning, I should close-out Spring Break 2014 with something close to 20 hours of saddle time.   My hairy, old, off-the-couch arse will attest.

I've enjoyed a lot of nice mornings out in the woods the last several days amidst the quiet of the early spring season with almost no one else around.  But no ride has been as good, nor more memorable, nor more truly life-affirming than the ride I took for an hour with my daughter this afternoon up Schultz Creek on her brand-new, big-girl, 24-inch, 21-speed, bright-orange Specialized Hotrock mountain bike (the latest in a long series) which she shredded with such great skill and good attitude as to make me nearly burst with gratitude and pride.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey