Today is one of those lonely, melancholy days when I don’t feel like pedaling my bike, going anywhere, doing anything. The dour, overcast, cold weather doesn’t encourage joviality, and its endless stretch of soggy, grey clouds along one continuous horizon that encircles me like a purse seine has me fenced in, physically and emotionally. What might it take to encourage my lips to stretch themselves into even a mere semblance of a smile?
Here I sit, in a friendly gas station convenience store just off the interstate in Adrian, TX. I’ve unsuspectingly wandered into Mountain Time, or, no, I haven’t actually*. I am apparently simply incapable of reading the clock on my phone. Or I am confused by the passage of time.
The few people I have talked to here are all that is keeping my spirits up, if I should define them in such a way, and I’m not sure that I should. But I am no longer dangling from the nadir of despondency. That I can say. The chili and hot chocolate have provided comfort and encouragement as well. That warmth! Not just of the meal, but of the cheerfulness of the two ladies behind the counter, too. Talking to them has been like warming myself in front of a stranger’s—now a friend’s—hearth; fire once stoked, embers now softly glowing, the cast-iron stove having absorbed their heat now emanating it throughout the room like the passing of a baton in a relay.
I’m tempted to linger longer as I’m reluctant to go back out into the chill, but it’s five o’clock, and I really must get back on the road.
The baton is in my hand.
*I crossed the border into New Mexico an hour and a half later, where I did actually cross into Mountain Time