Archive for the ‘biking’ Category

Spring III

March 24, 2012

We’ve had another really warm week with records highs being set all over the Upper Midwest and Northeast.  I rode to work and back Wednesday and Thursday and Thursday afternoon got caught in a rainstorm but pedaled out of it somewhere between Cottage Grove and Madison as the cell was track straight North.

The plants are going nuts, loving this weather.  Even the plants along the North side of our house are emerging.  There, the shooting star has leafed but not bolted, the wild ginger’s leaves are pointing upwards but not yet unfurled, the columbines are now tight clusters of whorled leaves, and the twin leaf looks ready to flower.  In the front, the Canada anemone has formed a 60% mat and in the back the ostrich ferns are just starting to emerge.

This morning we all walked over to Olbrich gardens and saw flowering cherry trees and the crab apples look like they will be flowering within 2 weeks.  Annabel had a blast running around exploring and Zoey took a nap in the stroller.  Perfection!

I saw a Northern Flicker on the walk this morning and saw two turtles on a log in a pond at Olbrich.  Can you bask if it’s cloudy?

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Spring II

March 14, 2012

It has been ridiculously warm this past week, with temps in the 70s.  I responded by biking to work on thursday and wearing shorts at the office.  Nature responded more dramatically.  The frogs across the street were calling wednesday evening and every evening since.  Mendota and Monona are free of ice.  Crocuses appeared sunday morning and lost most of their petals by this morning.  The chives were growing so fast I could see it through the kitchen window while washing dishes.  Song sparrows have appeared across the street and killdeer are all over the landscaping at work.  This morning the neighbors forsythia bloomed.  We seeded one of the beds with spinach and lettuce seeds last weekend and if this weather keeps up they could be sprouting right now….ok, two so far.  But that’s really fast.

Thursday’s riding thought….”Greatness occurs in garages at night.”  A reference to the Palo Alto garage that served as a workshop for Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.  Also known as the birthplace of silicon valley. 

The HP Garage in Palo Alto

We’re not all going to found industry-altering companies, but we can all turn off the tv, go work on our own projects, on our own quiet benches.  Building something, creating something, solving something, writing something, painting something.  Reversing one trend, of Americans as consumers to Americans as creators.  And another trend of work as pointlessly collaborative dissonance to work as resolute, intense, silent engagement.

 

Learn, Write, Adapt, Connect…….and Bike

January 10, 2011

Both days this weekend I went for a bike ride around the lake here.  We started this winter with some good snow and I went cross-country skiing a few times but then we had a melt New Years Eve so skiing is done for now.  The temp was in the 20s but the roads were clear.  I haven’t done much winter biking in the past but as long as the roads are clear, the winds are calm and the sun is bright, why not.

I mention this because this year I hope to track the nunber and types of rides I go on.  Some will be errands, some will be exercise, and some will be meanderings.  All have their own character but one thing they all share is that I do my best thinking on a bike.  Sometimes practical, sometimes philosohical, sometimes something in between.

Today I was thinking about a question posed by a reader of climateprogress.org.  Ian is a 25 year old with a degree in film-making.  He’s got a job but doesn’t particularly care for it and feels frustatrated that he’s not pouring his energy into fighting to save the planet.  He basically asked CP readers what he should do next.  There are a many thoughtfulresponses here http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/09/what-should-ian-do-with-his-life/

My thoughts from today’s ride are below and will surely prove to be more beneficial to me than to Ian.

Ian,

Great question, I thought about it on my very cold bike ride around the lake today.  I would answer with “Learn, Write, Adapt, and Connect”.

Learning.  No matter what you need to continue aggressively learning.  Formally and informally.  Don’t like your job?  Go to grad school where you will be pushed to learn, analyze, and communicate.  There are undoubtedly a number of programs where you can gain greater confidence in your understanding of the science while refining your excellent communications skills.  I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone but you seem like you’d enjoy the challenge and would definitely come out a stronger thinker than you were when you entered.

Writing.  I am 36 and I am still coming to grips with the importance of writing.  The idea that one writes to convey ideas to others is obvious.  The real importance of writing for me at this point in my life is that process of writing strengthens you as a thinker as you are forced to clarify your thoughts.  This year my goal is to use writing to focus my actions as well by blogging weekly on ecological living.  I input non-stop but knowing that I will need to write forces me to concentrate ideas into actions.

Adapting.  You mentioned that you didn’t feel that minimzing your carbon footprint was significantly satisfying but perhaps if you viewed it in terms of skills-learning you might appreciate it more. I don’t expect a dramatic collapse anytime soon but I find it extremely fulfilling to learn to grow food, etc. and move down a path of self-reliance while lessening my footprint.

Connecting.  We all need to continue to connect with our families, friends, communities, and environment.  If we are to succeed in this struggle, our love for humanity and this planet must overwhelm and outlast the fossil-barons’ love for their profits.

If you pursue the activities, you’ll likely find, as I did, that feedback loops are generated and soon you are doing more than you ever could have imagined.  This is empowering and we need empowered people in this struggle for it will be a long one.

Thanks for posing the question.  You have stimulated a terrific exchange of ideas.

Onward!