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Location: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Shadows

At our latitude--44deg59min N--the earth's tilt has by this time of year sent the sun well down in the southern sky, so that riding out on late afternoons my shadow, visible in my helmet mirror, captures in silhouette my riding position and pistoning legs. There's something irresistibly engaging about this image. Part of the attraction lies in the occasion seeing one's shadow provides to glimpse oneself from the standpoint of another. It offers the same secret thrill we get viewing photos or films of ourselves. Of course a shock accompanies the latter: is THAT the way I look? It's the same shock we'd get by looking in the mirror, if we could look at the image of ourselves without editing out the evidence of aging. But your shadow is not shocking. That silhouette edits the details, leaving only the action or the pose. So that must be part of the attraction, too, adding to the pleasure of riding my bike into the sun, along the river, and out into the countryside, with miles yet to go...

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