There’s no place quite like Barneveld for feeling close to our fellow creatures!
We set out Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend for a bike ride, with hopes of riding a couple of hours before the rain which was expected. It was hot and humid but the breeze in our faces kept us cool -- well, cool enough. As usual there was hardly any traffic and the farms and fields slid backwards past us as we rolled forward past them.
What made it special was a few wonderful moments shared with others who were enjoying God’s bounty with us along the way.
A mile after turning left off Steuben Valley Road to head uphill to Holland Patent, a heron treated us to his prehistoric take-off and flight in a swampy marsh. He may or may not have seen us, but seeing him let us know we were in deep country.
We made the long gradual ascent, puffing happily and breathing in summer’s kaleidoscopic array of fragrances until we reached the top of the hill where a few homes have set themselves down with commanding views. In the driveway of one of these, a mother stood behind her teenaged daughter lovingly brushing the girl's golden hair. The girl held a mirror and she and her mom seemed to have eye to eye contact. We waved to them. They waved back. “Good mornings” were shared in a moment of sweet connection.
Then the super downhill swoop into Holland Patent - we had earned it with our uphill. “WHEE!” kind of sums it up.
On the way across from Holland Patent, we first saw an Amish family drawn by two horses coming toward us. It looked to us as though they were heading for church and we exchanged open smiles and waves as we passed one another. Another connection and we pedaled on.
Two miles later we could see another buggy coming but this one was practically flying behind a proudly trotting black horse, its ears pricked up with the joy of its own speed. An Amish boy held the reins, wearing his black go-to-meeting suit and blue shirt and radiating with the biggest most gleeful open mouthed smile either of us had ever seen. Was he late for church? If so, he surely didn't mind. We waved, he waved. It almost seemed the horse waved too.
On the way home, we shared the road first with a couple of partridge, whirring up at the side of a cornfield and then with an eagle who flew from his roadside snack to a nearby branch to let us pass.
We got home just as a few raindrops fell. It had been a blessed two hours and five minutes, 25 gorgeous Barneveld miles and smiles we'll carry with us a long, long time.