Welcome to the new year, all cold and white, finally. Riding on this day isn’t possible. Being outdoors is possible only in small tokens of time (it’s 7 degrees here in Denver as I write), and so for a while, each day of the new year will now be spent under a roof, breathing artificially warmed air.

On holiday weekends like this, it seems like time slows down and opens up, while doors and windows are closed and sunlight is fleeting and cool. There is much to do–things that were forgotten, or put off–and suddenly there is time to do it.

I have cleaned the cupboards, finished some of the touches on my old ten-speeder from high school, converting it into a single speed cruiser. I have reorganized the pantry, the front closet, my dayplanner. I’m almost done with a book that I got as a Christmas gift. I have plans to tackle and reorganize the gigantic pile of toys in the basement. Maybe tomorrow, after I take my kids sledding.

Riding takes time, and in reality, it’s a fruitless endeavor. You bust your lungs and still you end up getting nowhere. You end where you started, having blown away several hours. (It’s kind of like writing poetry, my other passion–it produces no money, no progress, no tangible social value.)

But then again, there is great power and redemption in such actions. The exertion. The focus. The fear and the thrill. It’s the way we become more human, perhaps. By challenging ourselves, by sacrificing: blood, energy, water, time, money. Or maybe it’s the way we engage our animal natures. Outside, moving hard and fast, full of fear and adrenaline, never giving up.

Perhaps that’s what makes humans so interesting–these dual natures in their everyday ebb and flow.

P.S. Here’s a pic of the new bike.

One thought on “01.01.11

  1. I don’t mountain bike anymore, but I do still love activities that give that same kind of rush: skiing, rafting, steep scrambling hikes. Fear and adrenaline have a way of keeping me in the moment. For years it was the closest I could get to meditating – I just couldn’t sit still that long. In recent years I’ve tried more actual meditation, but my brain rarely lets go as much it does when I’m in the midst of an activity that requires my full physical focus.

    Have fun sledding, and keep an eye on those fingers and toes for the too-white signs of frostbite. One of mine went numb yesterday and looked suspiciously purple today.

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