Robin on the Road in Trerice Cornwall, UK

Robin on the Road in Trerice Cornwall, UK
Robin on the Road in Trerice Cornwall, UK

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Some thoughts on relationship with the land

Traveling across any vast landscape on our own power  allows us to enter into an intimate relationship with the land. It not only exposes us to the mercy of the forces of nature it also allows us a bounty of gifts. For me it invites contemplation. Contemplation is defined as "The act of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time".

Driving a car does not negate this. However, there is a clear separation and boundary between body, mind and spirit and the land itself in an automobile. By walking or cycling, the protective bubble is removed. Traveling under one's own power slows everything down. At 60 miles an hour, I would only get a glimpse of the countryside here and there. By physically making contact with the ground or even the road, I notice nuances. The sound of the wind, I hear birdsong and can visually follow their trajectory from tree to tree with my eyes. 

I am captivated by the wildness and unpredictability of the wind out here in the desert of southern Utah. There is not much I can do about it either if I want to continue my ride. It forces me to accept in no uncertain terms the consequences of choosing to ride.

A fellow cyclist and I were one day discussing how it's possible that the wind is more often than not coming from in front. So too does the terrain always seem more uphill than down. 
This phenomenon can be explained by some simple laws of physics. Pedaling uphill takes much longer as we work against gravity. The downhill sections though maybe sometimes longer in distance is covered quite quickly with less effort. Same for the wind at our backs. So much easier to pedal with a tail wind but we may arrive more quickly than if we were cycling into a head wind. With that kind of logic it is true that wherever you're going in Utah, it WILL be into a head wind.

The landscape is not static either. Even though I may not see it, there is a lot happening in any given second. The beauty of it lies not in the excitement of witnessing an Earth event,  which does happen from time to time but in the slow geologic passage of time. Infinitesimally small and barely visible to the naked eye. 

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