Simple enjoyment

The marina was dark and misty, all shapes were blurred in the damp gloom, all edges softened, all lamps fuzzy sources of watery light.

In the marina the boats looked vulnerable surrounded on three sides by imposing four storey flats. Some boaters had decorated their boats with fairy lights or illuminated sleighs and reindeer or Santas.

From the flats sounds of parties and arguments and radios could be heard. From the water, nothing. It was still, it only reflected the the lights in an upside-down confusion of blurred shapes and colours

Once on the boat the fire was quickly lit, flames licking around dry logs bringing an instant seasonal glow to an otherwise chill interior. A quick meal and tea was had whilst not listening to the Radio 4 programmes which I had put on for anonymous companionship.

After a quick check on the boat it was time to stop the radio talking to itself and cycle home. The boat and fire were left in a state of mutual care, the glowing fire warming the boat, the boat keeping the fire safe. Mid evening is a good time to go when most other folk are either at their venues or at home, leaving the dark damp roads to the few.

But the getting home and the cycling were not the same activity, one was the purpose and result of the other. It was the cycling itself that was a means of a totally different and not altogether intentional pursuit, that of enjoyment. Enjoyment of the weather, the darkness, the surroundings, of just being.

Along the remoter parts of the road the hum of wind in my helmet straps and hiss of tyres on damp road were all the more noticeable due to the darkness and stillness. Now and then there was the unexpected flick of an itinerant hedge branch as I brushed past it in the dark.

Street lights were softened by the mist into what the Spinners described as chrysanthemums growing on poles. As each lamp passed overhead my black clothes flashed white as the light was caught by the droplets of mist that had gathered on every tiny fibre.

Now and then visibility suddenly worsened but could be relieved by wiping moisture off my glasses.

The light beam from the front lamp shot valiantly forwards but was drained of strength by reflective droplets until it touched the road in a pale oval some yards in front.

When I stopped for a breather on the village hill the faintest of air flow, not enough to call a breeze, moved myriads of tiny droplets through the beam of the front lamp. This was only interrupted by the mini clouds of my breath as it chased the droplets along the flow.

And all of the time was there was the quietness due to the dampening of sound and surface by the mist. A muffling that was almost as comforting as you might imagine a muffler to be.

Riding up through the avenue of trees I could hear dropping of condensation almost as if the trees were gently and quietly weeping over summers past.

On reaching the village illuminated islands of decorated houses emerged, glowed for a while and were then enveloped by the mist once more.

Now and then the strings of lights framed windows, revealing parties or mutli-coloured reflections from outsized televisions.

And so to home, and to spend a hour typing and reliving the pleasures of a twenty minute ride in the dark. I hoped you enjoyed it, I did.

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