Got out early yesterday. By San Diego standards it was very cold — 38°F when I left the house. Double socks. Double gloves. Beanie under my helmet. Three long sleeve shirts. I still get a bit nervous about whether I’m dressed properly before I ride in winter here. I’m in proximity of several microclimates, and often have temperature fluctuations in winter of 10 to 20°. I’ve made good clothing choices so far this season.
A good rule of thumb: In winter, I dress for the downhills. Despite the cold temperatures, there’s a lot of heat and even sweat generated riding uphill. Reach a crest, go over the top, and with downhill speeds up 40 mph, 38°F, becomes roughly a 20° windchill.
Was thinking about art and emotions on yesterday’s ride…
I often wonder why some songs makes me cry, that otherwise shouldn’t. Conversely, I wonder why songs that should make me cry, often don’t. I got to thinking about the balance of emotion between the artist and the observer. I say observer and not listener, because this also applies to paintings, movies, and literature. It’s just that music is my primary form of literature.
As I was peddling alongside citrus orchards and acres of vineyards, I contemplated how fragile the exchange of emotion is between artist and observer. That’s what makes art so beautiful.
There’s the external emotion — the essence of the artist, crafted and projected outward from his art, like a message in a bottle. And the internal emotion — the essence of the observer, yearning, needing, and stirring within. Those emotions meet and blend in the head, the heart, and in the soul of the observer.
I thought further about other influences in this dance.
The first time I heard the song Bad, by U2, I was driving down College Avenue in Tempe Arizona in my blue Renault Alliance. My white and gold Lhasa Apso, Scooter, was in the passenger seat. Maybe 3/4 of the way through the song, I got a lump in my throat and began bawling. So overcome with emotion, I pulled off to the side of the road to finish listening, but more so to be less a danger in traffic. Scooter just stared quizzically.
Since that day, I’ve listened to that song, maybe hundreds of times, and I always reflect back to the emotions I felt the first time I heard it. However, in all the times I’ve listened to it since, not once has it brought me to tears, though it still evokes an emotional response every time.
Now here’s the thing: I was scarcely listening to the lyrics the first time I heard that song. I didn’t know what the song was about. So where did those tears come from…?
Maybe it was the beauty of the day — sunny with my dog at my side and the windows rolled down. Maybe I had just gotten paid and felt a sense of relief that lightened my heart — no more ramen for a while. Certainly the way the song builds sonically was a factor in pulling me into it. Maybe it was that I was just so young and hyper-aware that I had so much of my life left ahead of me. I dunno.
Some combination of all of those things is probably what brought me to tears. And let me be clear, they were tears of joy. Now I’m certain Bono and The Edge had no idea who I was or that their song would bring tears to me that day. But along with my environment and internal emotions, the emotions they felt when they wrote and recorded that song were mitigating aspects of the dance in my soul that day.
There are still some songs that bring tears to my eyes, but they are fewer and fewer these days. Perhaps that’s because I’m just so deep into life, and to scarred to feel as I once was able to feel.
Emotions are like clouds. They are the result of many influences, circumstances, and chemistry. And like clouds, emotions ebb and flow. They change shape, they change sizes, they change moods, and they sometimes disappear. Never though, do they stay in one place for very long.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
Bike: Cortez The Killer
Yesterday’s earworm: Bad, by U2
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from U2. Enjoy…!