America’s roadsides in July and August typically bear a ribbon of bright blue flowers known as chicory. They are tough plants that grow in disturbed soil, often popping up through gravel and grit to unleash their starlike blue blossoms in the summer sun.
As tough as they are alive, they fade quickly when plucked. The bright blue flowers turn sour and dark. Even a stem in a glass of water is sometimes not enough to spare the blossoms. So I stop to savor them in their place at least once each summer.
I cherish their ephemeral glory. Long rows of chicory stand like fans alongside the road during summer cycling trips. They pop up like crowds cheering cyclists in the Tour de France. All that is missing as I ride past is the noise.
Yet I don’t really miss that either. The whirr of bike tires on the summer tarmac is enough reward for me. My days of leading races may be gone, but the bright blue flicker of chicory in the periphery marks my pace no matter how fast I’m going. That’s a winning effort no matter how you look at it.