29 December 2013

Without Fear Of Solitude

This week, between Christmas and New Year's Day, is strange in all sorts of way. At this time last year, I was in Florida, at my parents' house.  There, I experienced what I like to call ""high spring" weather: the kind that, in this part of the world, we usually find in the middle of the season.  At such a time, you know that the weather isn't going to revert to winter but also won't be interrupted by a blast of summer heat.

Yesterday was spring-like, but in a different sort of way:  an interlude within--or, if you are of another mindset, a respite from--the season's first cold weather.

Even more important to photosensitive types like me, the light was definitely not that of the spring, or any other season but winter.  In spite of the bright sun and relatively mild temperature ( though accompanied by a brisk, even bracing, wind), the light was as austere as the bare trees and land, and as stark as the contrast between the sun and the steely water.

Perhaps the most interesting part of riding on a day like this is, at least for me, the riders I encounter, or don't, and how they affect my perceptions.

When I rode in Florida last year, and during the two previous holiday seasons, most of the other cyclists I saw were--not surprisingly--other people who were, like me, visiting family members or simply vacationing.  Some of the riders I saw today no doubt fit into that category.  But others, I could tell, were either hard-core riders or people who appreciated this sort of day.  Although I was riding by myself, I did not feel alone because I had, it seemed, many moments of camaraderie, however fleeting. When I ride with other people on a day like this, I feel, of course, the kinship I would normally feel for them as friends and fellow riders.  But I also feel like I am part of some sort of club, if you will, of people who enjoy the unique qualities of the moment. 

And, of course, my bikes are always ready for such rides--sometimes even more so than I am!

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