Sometimes, when desire meets reality, you come face to face with suffering. Most recently it was unexpected physical discomfort related to the cold and my newly arthritic feet. Out early yesterday with the temperature hovering around 20F should have been like a walk in the park. Instead I was served a big bite of suffering.
Looking back I can see how my love of winter has decayed into a state of annoyed acceptance that it's a fact of life in central Pennsylvania. This first cold ride of the season really surprised me and has me wondering how much cold I can tolerate. A question every year round rider wrestles with at some point.
After an hour I planted myself in Starbucks to hold a paper cup full of hot chocolate in my hands, let my feet warm, and scribble a few notes on index cards about the challenges ahead. I wrote "Suffering" at the top of the first card intending to post under that title. But things have a way of changing.
The iPhone vibrated on the table displaying an image of my friend Gordon. He and his wife Val bought their 14 year old son a .22 rifle for Christmas, a Ruger 10/22. Nice gun. And since he had never shot a gun before he asked if I could go with them to the local shooting range and get them started. I remember the .22 rifle my father got for me around the same age and the joy I found going out with him to plink away at tin cans.
Funny how warm some of my memories are related to weapons.
Last time I fired a gun at this range was in the early 1970s when a serendipitous encounter with gun dealer led to firing thousands of round of ammunition via an array of automatic weapons. My first experience with a Thompson sub machine gun, M16, UZI, and an Ingram MAC-10 with a suppressor. I learned two things. Automatic weapons are fun to shoot. Loading magazines isn't. It's an interesting story that I'll share someday.
Gordon's son wasn't the only one surprised on Christmas morning. Gordon's wife Val gave him a pair of riding gloves and some scooter brochures. The meaning is obvious. More joy at Christmas.
Went riding again today with no suffering. Suppose there is a yin and yang to it all. Didn't realize polar forces of opposite strength were at work in my riding life -- the suffering and the joy.