Is it an addiction? An escape? This morning started with promise. Overcast but warm. Eli and I planned to mountain bike after lunch. I drank my coffee and ate Golden Grahams. I kicked back on the couch to read the news with an espresso. About that espresso: Susan has harbored a love/hate relationship with coffee since her pregnant years. For fourteen years, she gutted through a daily cup for the caffeine.
Early on, we swapped the drip-pot for a stove-top percolator. Susan thought the drip coffee tasted like water, and she needed at least two cups to get enough caffeine. The stove-top deal is really an espresso maker. It brews two large cups of coffee per pot. Nothing weak about this coffee. If it had legs, it would kick you in the head. It’s an excellent delivery system for caffeine, but she doesn’t like the coffee any better than the watery stuff we used to drink. She just needs less of it.
A couple of months ago, she bought herself a Nespresso machine. It’s like a Keurig only the coffee tastes good. Her mornings improved, coffee is now a pleasure. Often, she has two. I like it too. On most days, I get by with just the pot of stove-top espresso, but sometimes as dessert, I’ll drink a Nespresso. Today was one of those treat-days. Espresso and news. I felt relaxed.
Around mid-morning, Susan and I went for a walk. As we left the house, a few raindrops fell. Three minutes later, things settled into a steady rain. We cut our walk short, came home and changed, I watched my afternoon mountain biking drown in the rapidly forming puddles outside. That’s when I noticed the edge. My relaxed feeling was gone. In its place, I felt agitated and aimless. The feeling stuck with me all afternoon. This happens every weekend. If I don’t have a wilderness outing planned for the day, a chance to get out into nature, I feel off. I have trouble focusing. I sit waiting, but for what, I don’t know.
Saturday, after lunch, I drove to Dead Woman Hollow, an extensive trail system in the local state park. I went for a run. Eli and I have been riding these trails weekly; I’m starting to know my way around. I put together a remote wooded loop and ran for ninety minutes. I judge the success of a run by how few people I see. Yesterday I saw only one. Bliss. I came home energized. I broke out the power washer and tackled several jobs.
Losing my Sunday outing derailed me. By mid-afternoon, I was feeling depressed. Susan corrected me: “You have a depressed feeling. In this moment.” The rain stopped, and with nudging from Susan, I went out on my bike. An hour later, back home, I felt great. Is it the solitude? The exercise? Breaking out of quarantine? Am I addicted, or am I running away? It’s a pattern worth watching. Several recent weekends have been disrupted by this feeling. If I only need a bike ride to set me straight, that’s a nice thing to know.