06 October 2012

The Delta Function In An Autumn Bike Ride

I've been reading a novel called The Delta Function by Spanish writer Rosa Montero.

I'm mentioning it, not because I'm going to critique it (In case you want to know, I like it a lot so far.) or even because it's terribly relevant to cycling.  Rather, I'm bringing it up because of the title.

As I understand, The Delta Function is an attempt to measure phenomena that take place in almost no time (i.e., nanoseconds) but are of nearly infinite intensity.  From what I can see, it would be very useful to astro- or nuclear physicists.  But it's an interesting idea in its own right, I believe.

Anyway, it occurred to me today, as I was riding, that my rides often consist of "Delta Function" moments and events.  It may be because my senses are more open, and I'm generally more alert when I'm on my bike.

As an example, today, in passing a postage stamp-sized park on Rockaway Boulevard, I had, for a fleeting moment, the full sight of colors and sensation of leaves rustling that I experienced during early-autumn rides in  the Delaware Valley,Vermont, the Finger Lakes region, and the Vosges in France.  All it took was a few feet of pathway lined with fallen yellow leaves:

Of course, Rockaway Boulevard is a long way from any of the places I mentioned in my previous paragraph.  And today's ride was really incidental in my running of errands and fulfilling other obligations.  However, that sight, that moment transformed them, if only temporarily.

And, on the way home,  I saw something else that, for no particular reason, gave me a momentary rapture:

I know it was just a bush next to somebody's house.  But it heightened my awareness of the light and color of this season, if only for a moment.

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