Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Town

A lot has been said, written and done about protecting what we've got. Whether it's our borders, homes, families or way of life. We've come to think whatever it is, is worth keeping, and we don't want it changed. Yet change is inevitable. Sometimes we do it ourselves, and sometimes we get help.

In the film Unforgiven Clint Eastwood said: "It's a hell of a thing killin' a man. Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have." And yet, we go on "protecting". It seems to be one of our strongest survival skills.

I've been spending a lot of dork-time watching this series on the Science channel. Not only are the graphics fantastic, but the show has an interesting way of putting these things in perspective. For example, I grew up in that magical era where we actually practiced ducking under our elementary school desks as our first line of defense should someone throw down a nuclear war.

So I've learned to accept the notion of impending doom since childhood. Only the form of the Destructor has morphed a little since then.

Take the potential comet-strike. Apparently for this our defense is to look deep into space just so we can see it coming. Kind of like ducking under the desk, isn't it? Or the fact that some day, 500 billion years or so in the future, our Sun is going supernova and taking us with it. Grab the SPF 30 trillion.

OK I can live with all that! What the show got me PISSED about was learning that OUR GALAXY, the Milky Way, is in a veritable "Death Dance" with OUR NEIGHBOR, Andromeda. Maybe its going to take several trillion years, but it's going to happen. But hey, relax. They already have a plan. We will become "Milkomeda" (Seriously? That was the best they could come up with?)

I guess what's got me most upset was that I DIDN'T KNOW until a few days ago. I've got some errands to run! And it's not to go get a bigger desk dammit!

I don't know about you, but I'm not going peacefully. Look out Andromeda! Get off the damn shed! Stay the hell out of my galaxy!

Which is a roundabout way of saying - we're all in this together.
Peace on Earth. Good will toward men.

~ Happy 21st Birthday, Princess Stefani ~

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Proper Dress Required

The day began much as they always do. The sun rose, a general plan was forged and in the offing was one to be discerned. Your Humble Narrator was obliged to participate somewhat unwillingly, for inside it was warm and safe and the outside seemed cold and harsh.

Accordingly one waits for the proper moment to begin. Maybe it will warm up. Try to remember the adage "dress for the second mile", but be prepared for complications. But it turned out I was ill-prepared. I left my extra top at home - so much for layering. I brought tire levers and a spare tube, but no pump or CO2 inflator. I only had 1 bottle of water and no cell phone. This was no way to embark on a long day's journey into night.

OK it wasn't that cold.

The start of the trail is difficult to navigate, but the rider is fresh. Much effort is expended avoiding the obstacles and soggy ruts or when unavoidable, selecting the least muddy option. One hopes to get through with a minimum of contamination and in a position to reach a more clear path.

The path requires one to constantly pedal. It may seem uphill in both directions. But you see, the grade is quite mild. The peaceful, upper Potomac gives way to roiling rapids. The path conversely becomes more predictable. The rider generally makes headway according to his internal gearing but can be easily pulled into the vortex of both Id and Ego in the process.

Fortunately I was able to step off and assess my journey. Great Falls lied but 2 miles ahead. But 22 miles out, 90 minutes of daylight remaining, no water and the upper trail at the inevitable end of the ride - this was not something I wanted to navigate in the dark. So I chose to turn back.

The ghosts of the forest loomed in the lengthening shadows.

As I was chasing daylight, a great brown owl passed over the trail. Fortunately I was not on the menu.

There was a time when I would have pressed on to my destination. But fortunately for me I turned back, within sight of the Great Falls. I was able to see the path before me more clearly. And when I reach the second mile, I will not see the sign "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service", but I hope nonetheless to be dressed appropriately.