Why the long shadow?

Gandalf the Grey? Nah. Gradaigh the Groady.

No, it’s not some dark twist on the old “a horse walks into a bar” joke.

It’s solstice! Short day, low sun, long shadows. Huzzah, etc.

Don’t forget your cap, squire.

I start carrying a cycling cap on rides this time of year. Generally I get a late start, because it’s not exactly toasty out there in the mornings, even in the Upper Chihuahuan Desert. And if I’m headed home into that low sun come midafternoon, I want some sort of eyeshade so I can see who’s trying to kill me.

Likewise on hikes I favor a broad-brimmed hat, either a Carhartt crushable boonie or a Broner fedora if I’m feeling stylish.

For runs I go back to the cycling cap — not the Rivendell, but a beat-up Campagnolo model that is so old I can’t recall where or how I acquired it, since I’ve never been a Campy man. I usually fetch a light Sugoi watch cap along too, and wear one while tucking the other into my waistband. Got to keep the brain-box warm since I don’t drink the antifreeze no mo’.

Here comes the sun, doo doo doo doo. …

Just remember to keep moving, like the Earth around the sun, and the Milky Way around the amazing and expanding universe. Don’t crouch indoors like a gargoyle, puzzling out that goddamn WordPress block editor or how long it’s been since your last shot and whether you dare have your great-aunt Fannie over for tea and biscuits. Get out there and chase yourself around.

I know, it’s dark out there. It’s dark when you get up, dark when you go to bed, and in between it’s just dark.

But keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart. While you’re at it, you might pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger-all down here on Earth. And keep one hand on your liver.

Good night, moon.

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20 Responses to “Why the long shadow?”

  1. SAO' Says:

    Yep, it’s dark out there. And the only antidote is … more light.

    https://highplainsdrifters.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/more-light/

    Fifteen minutes or so until it’s official, but that’s close enough for government work.

    • SAO' Says:

      No idea how that clip still works. The rights owners have been pretty vigilant over the years at snooping out excerpts and shutting them down. Just a matter of time before this one is gone as well. Like everything in life, enjoy it while it lasts.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, my old “Alice’s Restaurant” link finally went away this year. I had to dig up another.

      I understand that in the battle against digital piracy a few non-profit rowboats must sink alongside the buccaneers’ schooners. But still, damn.

    • Eric J Pedersen Says:

      Thanks for the clip. Wonderful stuff. Made me smile.

  2. carl duellman Says:

    i would enjoy this time of year more if i didn’t have a job. it’s pert’ near dark when i leave the office and i tend to be solar powered. the days are short but not too short to get in a good ride or hike on the weekends. no running though. the weather is iffy but not intolerable. it’s also cyclocross season. not that i ride cyclocross but it’s great to watch. the canadian woman Maghalie Rochette seems like she’s doing well. Lucinda Brand is unstoppable.

    • SAO' Says:

      Three winters in Korea taught me, never complain about the cold, because, one, it will get colder, and, two, somebody else out there is always colder than you are.

      Every time I thought I was cold, I remembered, my grandpappy was once in the same spot, and he didn’t have Gore-Tex or polartec or 800 fill down.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I find I’m a little less tolerant of cold weather than I once was. Back in the Day® I thought nothing of driving hours through the snow to race a frozen, muddy cyclocross for 45 minutes plus a lap, then hosing off bike and kit in a car wash afterward.

      Now if the temps dip under 60° I’m wearing tights and long sleeves. Lo, how the mighty are fallen. …

      • SAO' Says:

        My best days are definitely behind me. Until maybe 45, I’d run in shorts unless it’s below zero and 20 mph winds. Now if I see a single branch swaying anywhere, I’m putting on all the snivel gear.

  3. John A Levy Says:

    Sunrise today 8:25 am Sunset 4:45 pm. temp on awakening this morning approximately 13 degrees F. Got to get out of this place, Thank you Stones. high today 30. Ice and fresh snow on top of the ice, my yakstrax are breaking up. Breaking bacon grease and buttermilk biscuits. Ho Ho fricking ho. Guess I am ready for Christmas after all. good tidings to all!!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We just got past a short stretch of 17° mornings. Nossir, didn’t like it. Don’t like the fresh snow on ice either, not after a few painful instances of being reminded that gravity works and friction is your friend.

      But bacon grease and biscuits? Hells 2 tha yeah.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Gotta get off my ass today and do a solstice ride.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I got a late start on pretty much everything today and decided to settle for a solstice run. Tomorrow, goddamnit, tomorrow I ride.

    • JD Says:

      Khal: Hope you got that ride in on Winter Solstice 2021!
      Since many of you are commiserating about the the aging process …. please note that I did the same ride I did 20 years ago on the Winter Solstice: 0+45 on my “steel is real” Lemond Buenos Aires mounted on my CycleOps resistance trainer. (Several gears easier though!) 🙂
      Would have ridden outside here in the Bibleburg area as it’s in the 50’sF; but my dermatologist carved up an ear and bike helmets are NOT part of the healing regimen.
      Best wishes to all …. stay safe and healthy …. keep swimming upstream, since even a dead fish can go with the flow …. Etc.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Did an hour and a half on the Tierra Trails. Was pretty up there.

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    See, mi amigo, you have a good eye for pix. I really like the one with the pyramid. Happy solstice to all!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank you, sir. You learn this tune being a one-man band.

      “Hm, need an image, need an image, too lazy to steal, where’s the phone?”

      In this case, what you see is a corner of the garage wall, shot in landscape, rotated into portrait, and tightly cropped. The proverbial “dazzling with bullshit.”

  6. Dave Watts Says:

    Well, that was dark. Darker even than normal. I counted 5 “darks” up above. On a lighter note, one should know that the evenings have been getting progressively longer and brighter since December 8th.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, ’tis only the black mood that comes over me now and again, when the gentlemen of the press keep keening, “Yeer fooked, yeer fooked, yeer fooked.” One would like to gi’ em a wee puck in the gob so.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      I hear you Patrick. I go to the dark side every time I observe that stupidity is sometimes contagious. The current events try to rob me of my three treasures, especially compassion! When I meet someone who is unvaccinated for no good reason, I want to say, “Well, I hope you don’t die, but if you do, at least try not to take any innocent folks with you.” So far I have resisted doing so.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      There it is. You gotta feel for anyone trying to help folks who refuse to help themselves. It’s like trying to teach a pig to whistle. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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