In the winter a certain melancholy sets in, a longing for sunshine and long days, a wonder at where the time goes every day. It’s a world of long shadows and dead trees and primal worry that it will never end, although the worry typically doesn’t set in until the later part of the winter, within weeks of new bird songs and fresh buds on the trees. But this winter, melancholy is here early and deeply entrenched. It’s a strange feeling as I am one of those odd ducks who adores winter, but this season, this year, I’m pining for sunshine, for long days, for no dark, for no enclosed time chiseling away at deadlines. At the very least, just to be outside.
Even riding, when I’ve had time, I’m not interested in stopping or seeing, I just want to ride unless it involves quiet nature and hiking. I pregame enough gear on our dining table to make anyone think I have some grand ride planned, and then, no. Instead when the mood takes and a moment’s free, I go. I don’t choose places, just highways all within a few hours of home because, well, short winter days, and memorize their numbers and as well as an alternate route because, well, ODOT, then go.
It’s not the Rockies or the Black Hills, it isn’t my South or the western shoreline, but I do love this part of the country, of Oklahoma. Not for some great rolling grandeur, but for an understated stateliness frequently unnoticed by the passerby, like a hardworking farm girl only seen working, never noticed for that beautiful face she’s veiling with necessitated practicality. That isn’t the worst quality I can think of to have. If anything, I’d take it over a pageant queen any day.
By sunset the southwest winter hues take on their jewel tones and the air bites. The world looks distant and half asleep, and often lately so do I. The air was so cold, but purposefully I didn’t stop to put on warmer gear, just sped up. Let it come, the numb fingers, the cold legs through thermal layers, the burn in your face as the nerve endings scream. Go faster, get colder. You’ll wake up. Winter can’t last forever and this year is ending.