Tuesday, September 20, 2016

149: Languor

Beautiful Texas countryside
Each day for the past several days, as we have pedaled across central Louisiana and now Texas, Roger has reported: "I think this is the worst day yet for the weather" - meaning the heat and humidity is even more oppressive than the day before.  I actually disagreed with him today; I think it was worse yesterday. But there's no denying that our southbound trajectory toward the Gulf of Mexico and its huge mass of bath-tub warm water is having an increasing impact on the climate we ride through, day by day.

Icon of the west
It saps your strength, really. When that hot sun beams upon us on the road, I can feel my muscles relax, my lungs slowly expel their air, I just want to lie upon the roadbed and sleep. Roger says he has trouble getting enough oxygen and I joke with him that he just needs to open up his gills.  Everyone who was raised in the South along the Gulf Coast has gills. We do! You may say that isn't possible but it's the only way we have survived for generations.  Mine haven't been used in a while but I know how to breathe this air and separate the oxygen from the water vapor. I don't think Yankees have this capability.  And, my native Texas roots also help me understand - intuitively - how to survive down here:  you slow down.  You don't rush, you don't hurry. You amble, stroll, meander.  Folks down here just can't rush around like the folks up north.
Roadside art

But we're riding a bicycle! We can't just flop over and sprawl across the road! So we are out here, sometimes until mid-afternoon, turning the pedals and moving on. When we step into the cafe or convenience store, we shudder with the sudden chill of being wet in the air conditioning.  When we come out of the Jiffy Mart, our cell phones fog up.  I had to retrieve something from the bike while we were at lunch, and joked to the fellow sitting outside to have a smoke, "Oh, darn! I was hoping we'd have a cold front while we were inside." The weather report lists a chance of thundershowers but as I told Roger today, they don't really cool anything off. They just pump more moisture into the air, as the rain evaporates from the hot roads and sidewalks.

So here you go - the definition of languor. I think it's the word of the day:
  1. noun
    1. 1.
      the state or feeling, often pleasant, of tiredness or inertia.
      "he remembered the languor and warm happiness of those golden afternoons"
      synonyms:lassitudelethargy, listlessness, torporfatiguewearinesssleepinessdrowsiness
    2. 2.
      an oppressive stillness of the air.
      "the afternoon was hot, quiet, and heavy with languor"
      synonyms:stillness, tranquilitycalm, calmness

Susan rode with us to town
Our Warm Showers host, Susan, rode us out to Coldspring.  Man, the Texas countryside is beautiful, and we enjoyed as well seeing some of those uniquely Texas things. I cannot say that I have seen a mailbox in any of the other states we have visited that is painted like the state flag.  I guess there is just something about those big blocks of color - they work so well!
Some businesses have opted out of open carry

Also - we were intrigued by the signs we were seeing on the convenience stores and cafes. Then I remembered:  Texas passed an "open carry" law a while back, and so businesses that wish to opt-out must post such a sign. I am actually encouraged to see how many of them there are. I guess not EVERYONE in Texas wants to have a gun hanging out.
More of that "Texas Flag" love

We arrived at my dear friend's home in mid-day.  Marguerite and I have known each other since high school, which means I can call her one of my oldest friends, although we cannot be "old," can we?  So that's not the right word!  She and Bruce put together a righteous feed, including some beautiful steaks, vegetables, salad . . . ahh!  And somehow I managed to not get a photo of the two of us, so that will have to wait until we go back through . . . after our trip down to Houston.
Arriving at Marguerite's home

Because don't we all want donuts with our drive-through drinks?

The day's report:
Great bike trails through the Woodlands
 Coldspring to The Woodlands, 61.7 miles/7415 to date

The route (definitely taking the "back roads" in to the megalopolis!)  Click here for the secret way into the Woodlands

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