The thought crossed my mind this morning, but I quickly dismissed that it could happen. We have seen the signs before…hoof prints in the soft dirt, markings on the trees…but in the dense undergrowth you almost never see anything. Yet, on this foggy morning, we saw them. Maybe it was the fog, maybe their internal clocks were a bit off with the sunlight trickling in late this morning. We were riding later than normal, and the warm sun had started filtering down to the ground by 10 am. I had the beginning of the jello feeling in my legs, as though I have never ridden my bike on these trails before. There has not been rain in over a week now and the dirt that was hard packed only two weeks ago is turning to mush.
While contemplating if we should have taken another route or eaten a bigger breakfast, I looked up and saw a flash of dark followed by white whooshing by in front of me. As I yelled out to my biking partner, the flash was gone. I started to explain what I thought I had seen, and then whoosh we both saw it – a beautiful, white-tailed deer! It was fantastic.
I get very excited when we see wildlife while mountain biking; it is sort of the big pay-off for me, one of the secrets of happiness. Finding joy in the small things in nature. I didn’t actually make that one up; I borrowed it from my children’s Magic Tree House audio books that we listen to in the car. According to one of the stories, one of the secrets of happiness is finding joy in the small things in nature.
Happiness, it turns out, helps you pedal the bike a little farther when you might otherwise like to be done with the ride. Today, I found lots of happiness in nature, if only for a brief second.