Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grayscale 2014

Try to find the geese
Well, our brief dalliance with snow and arctic air is now behind us and we have a milder pattern for the time being. It has created a very gray sky and along with the sullen, dead landscape, it renders everything in a gray scale world with little to no color.

This really makes subtle things like a small patch of green grass stand out like a neon light in a world of black and white. The subtle reds and golden browns that some of the tall grasses still hold on to for display are easily spotted now where they would have been lost in the cacophony of colors during this past Fall. Even the animals seem to be in a state of depression as I saw little to no activity on my ride in the Green Belt yesterday. Only a grizzled elderly man with spectacles walking his way through the trails broke the canvass of death and decay which is what Winter without snow looks like here.

The snow is gone, yes, but not the ice, which is mostly the traces of what was compacted snow by we fat bikers. I was on a 29"er, which is faster and more nimble on frozen ground, but I had to be very wary of the glare ice stretches of single track. I was forced to ride along side the trail proper there, so the going was rough and slower in stretches. Having no snow and warmer temperatures is nice in a way, as it shortens the Winter's icy times and makes it more palatable for many. However; with the shorter days and lack of life, it can weigh upon the mind and there was little cheer on this particular ride. Not even any squirrel antics to bring a smile.

A whiff of snow holds on near this frozen pond.
I guess there is just too much "dark" and no light. Here is where the covering of snow helps, I feel. But be that as it may, I did get to ride outside on a trail, and that was something in December. Typically I am shut out of the trails by this time and normally I am plunking and bushwhacking my way through deep snow on the fat bike.

Speaking of trail- is it really necessary to have a clear cut path six to eight feet wide through the woods?  I get where the City maintained part of the Green Belt is like this, since they utilize a giant end loader for what passes as trail maintenance here, but it would seem that someone or other felt that Marky-Mark needed widening. Sheesh! Are ya gonna drive a car through there? I mean, it was totally passable last Summer when I was rediscovering it, and in my opinion, "brushing up against nature" ain't a bad thing. It's what makes the Mid-West trails unique and different than the West and its vast expanses of "open" territory where having your face slapped by an overhanging twig is about as likely as finding leprechaun with a pot-o-gold. We should celebrate our type of woods instead of "keeping it at bay" by cutting a swath so wide through that one could ride three abreast. In the case of single track here, wider isn't always "better", in my opinion.

Maybe I'm just being too grumpy. Affected by the "gray scale" of the world here, I would imagine. Well, the good news is that it doesn't get much worse than this and in ten days we start going the other way. And we still have a lot of Winter to go yet, so this barren landscape may still see a covering of brilliant white before Springtime. I'm betting on it.

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