Winter makes me a little dark inside. It has been many, many days since I rode outside.

So. Many. Days.

So long since I took flight. Since I soared over miles and hours and exhaled all the bullshit in my head.

Ages since I felt truly calm. Since I was at peace, basking in joy and sunshine on my bike.  

I stay a couple of steps ahead of depression by focusing on gratitude. I greet the sun a few minutes earlier each day. Those few extra minutes melt ice off the roads and bring me closer to riding outside again.  

Riding my cross bike on the trainer is exercise, not pleasure. I do like being on a bike more than I like being off a bike, so I ride the trainer and notice the rough texture of the bar tape under my fingers and celebrate the smooth, even strokes that make me strong.

I like the way the sun makes shadows on snow and ice.

I try hard to notice the small things. The way winter can make home feel extra cozy. The way my children giggle as they warm tiny chilly hands on my cheeks. The warmth of my body when I ski. I try hard to enjoy winter, but I long for summer.

Today a slice of pear whispered summer in my mouth. 

"You like sweet?" He asked, with an accent I couldn't quite place.

"Yes," I smiled. 

" Let me just wash my hands. I'll be right back."

He returned with a knife and led me to the pears. He told me that the comice were his favorite because they are so sweet and juicy. All pears are sweet when they're ripe, but this is the sweetest variety.

We both bent low over the bin of pears as sunlight streamed in, highlighting the blushing orbs. He felt pear after pear, after pear, searching. Finally, he handed me one. 

"This one is ripe. You want a little soft. This one (gesturing to another) ready in two, three days."

I passed the ripe pear back and he cut two wedges for us to try. 

He presented the cut pear with his palm up, juice running down through his fingers. 

I chose the first wedge, then he took the other. We both started grinning as we took the first bite. It was sweet and very juicy. And still a little crisp somehow. Its sweet center juxtaposed with the slight tartness of the skin. Something about the texture of the flesh and the way the pressure of my tongue brought out even more juice was embarrassingly sensual. 

"That's lovely," I breathed, thinking of sex.

Not sex with him, just sex generally.

And how fruit evolved to get animals like me to to eat it.

And how the Oregon sun had ripened this fruit back in warm summer when I was still riding outside and having sex outside of blankets.

This nice man was just letting me taste the fruit so I would buy some, and here I was daydreaming about sex. And bikes. And how I might get to ride outside in a couple of days.

I almost started laughing at myself, so desperate for summer's pleasures. 

I thanked him, and he said, "This one is good, but not sweet enough. Some are sweeter." 

"Sweeter than this?" I asked, surprised. 

He nodded, and I started picking out pears to bring home.