The Cycling Season Coming To A Close

Ok, I know it’s still summer for the next 500 hours…but given the proximity of CycleOregon on my cycling calendar, my thoughts have once again shifted towards the inevitable diminishing daylight of the autumnal turn. For the past ten years the gravity of this seasonal flip of the page has been enhanced by my favorite yearly cycle-gathering. The issue has been the rapidity of the shift; from our benign Mediterranean climate here in the Bay Area to whichever corner of Oregon they traverse. This is mostly due to the more northerly latitude where this enjoyable gathering finds itself. Fall has customarily fallen in northern Oregon by mid-September. The summer heat has usually crescendoed then slipped gradually away, replaced with a warm, soothing golden yellow tinge entrenched in the Aspens, Cottonwoods and other deciduous foliage of the northwest. Those early mornings are likely to include a first smidgen of crispness, maybe even a fleeting tinge of frost in a north facing barn shadow. So given my whereabouts down here in central California, the shift has felt more like an abrupt jolt. I’ve learned over these past years that I will have many more weeks of summer to enjoy when I return to the bay, but the milestone has passed. You can’t un-break an egg, as they say. The schools are back up and rolling, kids are back at their desks, teacher’s buckling in for the ride. Seasons will turn, they always have and they always will. For most everyone, the change is delicate enough to slip past with barely a breath, especially when you’ve become accustomed to your home province. Sure, we usually find ourselves one day saying “it’s getting colder” Seasonsor “it looks like rain” but the precise point has passed, we only truly take notice when the stack of evidence has had time to accrue. But when you have the privilege to travel and taste, smell and see another location for a week or more, that precise tick of time is illuminated and set apart as special, unique, notable. I’ve tried to appreciate that point. Being immersed via my bicycle on pavement by day and via my tent clustered in a field by night has cemented those wondrous moments as mine. But I admit to touches of melancholy with this equation over the years and I doubt I’m alone with that. After all, it is clearly another year nearly done and in the books. But why are we hardwired to feel that spring is the only beginning, juxtaposed with fall as always the beginning of the end? Would it be possible take a different view, to stand aside and note the circular characteristics here? I think this could be why the bicycle works so well, with its wheels and numerous evenly spaced spokes, without a beginning and without an end. With their service, we roll on down the road.

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