Thursday, December 11, 2008

the gate

I love being in the right place at the right time.
I also love rituals, traditions, celebrations of events, and symbols.
and this afternoon, these two came together for me in a way that put a huge grin on my face that has gone so deep inside it's still with me.

at 12:45 I went for a ride. the predicted high today (41 degrees) had been reached, and I figured it was time to get going. I debated whether or not to head up emigration, unsure of what the bike lanes looked like after last monday's snow. yes, go where I love; no, be safe and head out south; yes, avoid stop lights; no, deal with traffic . . . I chose the correct path today, and headed up the canyon.
for the first time I can remember, there were no golfers on the bonneville golf course. instead, an uneven white blanket sat atop the still green grass. I grinned in amazement, and was thankful the roads were clear. once I started up the canyon, the bike lanes played a game of hide-and-seek, at times dry and wide and other times so full of ice and snow that they were nonexistent. a handful of hearty cyclists were thinking as I was, braving the cold to feel the joy of riding in the sun before the next storm hits.
I decided to ride to the gate at the bottom of the road up Big Mountain, wondering if it had been shut and locked yet after monday's huge snow. as I approached the gate, I saw a truck with flashing lights pulled to the side, and a man walking toward the gate. wondering if he was going to close it right in front me, I rode toward him with a flutter in my chest.
he looked at me, and called out to me, are you heading up and over?
I replied, no, I'm just going up a little ways.
he then said, oh, 'cause we're closing the gate here at 3 pm.

and now, the gate is closed.

which is probably much more significant to motorists and cross country skiers than it is to us cyclists. we non-motorists can just walk around the gate, and we cyclists can keep on riding until the snow stops us. which is when the cross country skiers can start having their fun.

but it's about the event itself, the actual closing of the gate. it is a changing of the season, an acknowledgement that what was, no longer is. I wanted to be there at 3 to witness this symbolic event, but I had to settle for being one of the last few cyclists to ride freely past the open gate.

my part of the world has shifted just a tiny bit more toward winter, and away from the bike.

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