Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What's That I Smell?

I hear something off in the distance, it’s coming this way. Or perhaps I feel it. No, I can smell it.

Is it really a smell? Maybe it’s the change in light, or the slight difference in the feel of the air. Feel of the air? What am I talking about, how does air ‘feel’?

You know what I’m talking about: It’s that incredible gush of blog posts, ‘zine articles, and twitter tweets trumpeting the ‘crispness’ in the air that’s just one frosty morning away. It’s the gradual change of the season. You don’t wake up one morning and trade in your smelly BBQ sauce stained Hawaiian shirt and rolled over flip flops for Sorels and a fake fur parka. This change does not slam you, it seeps in, like that bad smell which beckons (repels?) you to the back of the closet where the cat hid its last catch of the season. This ‘change’ comes on with almost imperceptible stealth.

ALMOST. Having inhabited the planet since even before there was a Paris Brest Paris, humanity has developed senses more sensitive than the five that we are mostly aware of. When I was an elk hunter, I not only studied the animals in their habitat I also read scholarly treatises about their hormonal responses to environmental stimuli. I learned that there are environmental triggers that cause animals to change their behavior with the seasons. It’s not just about following the snow line down the mountain.

The angle of the sunlight dropping further to the south, the rattle of the dry grass in the ditch, or the smell of dust and over ripe blackberries
in and of themselves could not account for the changes I experience this time of year.

I have the inclination to crawl into my cave and stare into the fire. Alright, it’s not a cave, it’s a cramped little office, and the fire is some kind of blue screen, maybe a TV, maybe a confuser, but even so, I could spend hours in there. The answer to the age old question “Why do bears hibernate?”: Because they can’t log on to the internet. It’s that and nothing more that keeps me from dozing off till March.

So, to further differentiate myself from Ursus Americanus, I ride my bike.
Oh to be sure, a few bears ride bikes, but I’m sure they just do it for the food reward. OK, I enjoy the food reward too but I have not yet seen a bear equipped with a fancy Berthoud bag or a hub generator.

Where was I, muttering about sappy ‘crisp fall air’ blog posts right?

Hey that was some crisp fall weekend we just had wasn’t it? It was so crisp we almost had half a dozen Koi and gold fish swimming around on the lawn out front. I’m sure we’ll get through this little wet patch, and then, when the sun comes out and warms up those damp blackberries, that aroma will send my head spinning back to 10 years old, the dam will break, and for two weeks we’ll be awash in “Crisp fall morning” blog posts across the electronic horizon. But then, after that, it’ll be soggy seat bags and the light henna hue of rust on the chain. Those crisp blog posts will become soggy memories as we struggle to decide which weekend will give us the best shot at the dry (dry-est?) 200K for our monthly R-12 homage to suffering. Suffering may be a little too strong a word. Riding a bike for all the daylight hours with squishy shorts; That’s not suffering, more like discomfort or slight humiliation.

Adieu my warm friend with the ‘sunny’ disposition. Enjoy your vacation in the south, feel free to come back early.

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