Always, around this time of year, I begin to feel this sense of being so unbelievable small. With winter fast approaching, and my commutes by bike being in utter darkness, I find myself star gazing most early mornings. At 5:30am, the world seems very quiet. The big dipper, along with Cassiopeia, Orion and Pleiades guide my way. They give me comfort knowing I will see them each clear morning. They are, in some ways, my security blanket and they tether me to the ground. So often, if I can't spot them right away, and I allow myself to scan the blackness, I begin to feel terribly insignificant. The vastness of the sky overwhelms me in a similar way the great lakes or giant redwoods do. This feeling of not knowing where the end is excites me and terrifies me all at once.
It is during this time of year I also get far too heady. Nietzsche and Parmenides come to mind. I start thinking about my role in this world, what I define myself as, what lessons I need to learn and what my chosen boundaries are. Am I limitless? Does my physical state of being really matter? Can I find that "thing" which connects me to all other living things? Will I continue on the same road forever? Yes, these things actually run through my head almost each dark morning I commute into work. I don't expect to really find any answers. I don't believe the stars will guide my way for this journey. The one thing I know, I mean really truly know is that my bicycle is one of the best moderators out there. It allows me to filter so much of this nonsense--with a simple push up a hill I can let these heavy thoughts drop behind me.
All too soon heavy snow will fall and all of my attention will be on staying upright. There will be no room or time for nonsense. It is this shoulder season that allows me to think of the "what ifs", "hows", and "whys"...and of course, it is the season for Monty Python.