10.26.2007,11:44 AM
Requiem for Summer
"Thirty-four degrees!?!?"

At 4:30 this morning I gasped at the outdoor thermometer. Damn; that's cold.

Time to pull out the cold-weather UnderArmor long Johns (why not Long Susans?). Layer One. Then long pants and wool socks. Grab the Widder vest off the coat hook - ziiiip!! Long-sleeved shirt over the vest and wool blend DuoFold to cap off my upper body.

Glove liners on hands, PolarFleece neck warmer drawn up to my eyes, lunch box and sacred coffee mug in tow, outside I go. Time to warm up the Whee.

"Holy crap!!!! What the......". Thousands upon millions of little hollow dihydrogen crystals cover the bike, gleaming and winking under the glare of the full moon; their silent maniacal laughter twittering in the false darkness. No, these are not diamonds on my bike, nor are they my best friend. These wicked tiny ice crystals aglow entombed my Whee like a spider encases her prey.

"Off!! Off of my bike!!", I yelled into the warmth of the fleece neck warmer around my mouth. I wiped ice from the headlights, instrument panel, mirrors and windscreen. Gleaming crystals fled helter skelter from the sheepskin pad as I shook it. The little winter demons attached to my glove liners as I packed my stuff away, torturing me, melting and driving the warmth from my fingers.

"Curse you!!!", I silently screamed into the sky where light from the moon beat darkness into submission. With a reluctant grunt, Whee sprang to life as I pressed the 'Start' button. A steady rumble assured me he's fine, and I go back into the house to finish the ritual bundling. The first of the arriving winter.

Topping off with quilt-lined jacket and pants, boots and helmet. I can't move.

Back outside my right hip protests the articulation required to swing a leg over the bike saddle. The right arm and hand respond to central command and aid my right leg up and over. Now seated, I wiggle around adjusting all the layers to give me freedom for flexion of my knees and ankles. I am a kid again stuffed into a cocoon of snow suit.

Plug in the vest cable, dial the thermostat up to level four, reach forward and switch on the heated grips, clutch in, shift down..... all systems go, Captain! "Give me everything ya got!"

'Make it so'; and off we went.

Wheels clunk on the gravel and assume silence flowing over moonlit tarmac, too bright to use high-beams. The visor fogs up immediately; leave it cracked open and suffer chilled lips. It's quiet. That big white bulb in the blackness bobs alongside us, teases me in my right mirror. Few cars, no critters. Just me, the bike, cold and my moonshadow.

Alone I ride. I'm aware it's cold, but it's still good.

I proclaim the end of summer and reluctantly accept the inevitability of oncoming winter which rudely announced its arrival this morning. I mourn the departure of warmth, self-aware that part of me already begins semi-hibernation. The bouncing joyous little spirit nourished by sun and warmth crawls down into the cave to sleep in stoic semi-consciousness. Already looking forward to that time when the earth and sun combine to create warmth again, and I emerge from this cocoon of clothes and walls.

This sucks. But I can still ride. And ride I shall.

A full moon ride shall be my mass for the long slumber of summer, and reticent deference to the winter.


posted by Macrobe
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