The cooling end of warm bike rides and the need for more clothes begins to creep in.
This time of year I wane the present and draw nostalgic.
Today with the crisp, dry air on my face I dreamed back to days of shortcuts.
The shortcut that reminds me of these days gone by is a small walkway behind my old middle school. The shortcut was a couple of railroad tie steps that led through an opening in the chainlink fence. Without this shortcut you would have to walk blocks to get to the connector street that the shortcut accessed. A perfect shortcut. A true timesaver, especially when you are only 13 and can't yet drive.
But if you really know me, the car is not my heartfelt mode of transportation. That pinnacle rests on trusty two triangles and two circles, the bicycle.
Once I discovered a shortcut by bike, my world got bigger and easier all at once.
Exploring by bike to find these shortcuts became an exciting adventure.
Travel up the dead-end looking Marion Ave and discover a small gravel cut that connects blacktop to sidewalk. When you are 13 years old and discover a whole new neighborhood, the discoveries just keep on growing. New streets look like foreign lands, both exhilarating and unknown.
Or travel up Belleview Ave and try to pedal the steep dirt path that connected to the high school saving a ride around the loop and a good 5 minutes time.
All these shortcuts, now 20 years old in my mind, are as fresh as the first day my old Nike's or old Huffy Sigma bike traveled over them.
So why the reminiscing about shortcuts? It could be that I have been talking to friends from 20 years ago and the fall time brought about two-hand touch football and the great times we had. Walking or biking to games as a group of best friends, shrouded in our beautiful ignorance of youth, not aware of what 20 years in the future would be like.
Or maybe the shortcuts I so cherished are a symbol to where life takes you. Sure, there are shortcuts in the game of life. Some truly timesavers, some leading to new horizons, some leading to dead-ends and a need to turn back around and reassess your position.
Some days I get lost in my thoughts of all those great years gone by. I think of getting in the car to travel back to my hometown Butler and getting on the bike to find my old shortcuts.
Of course I won't be travelling these roads alone. Like 20 years ago, walking in those old Nike's with my best friends Tom, Mike, and Rob, now I am also accompanied by my new best friend... and future wife. We'll cut down the gravel sidewalk, maybe have to hop a fence, and I'll tell her stories of fun times long past. I'll hold her hand while we walk up the steep dirt path by Belleview Ave.
I'll show her the old Butler High School and then walk on to the middle school. We'll walk around the building, and there it will be...the old railroad tie steps leading to the opening in the fence. The shortcut that brought all the memories back today. I'll smile and we'll walk the long way home, content in the thought that not all of life needs a shortcut when all you need is right beside you.