Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice: The Time For Rituals

Well, it appears that we have survived the Mayan apocalypse, the shortest day of the year slipped away at 5:02 when the sun set after a measly 9-hours, 49-minutes, and 30-seconds, and some seasonably cool weather is upon us. Those are all good things. Surviving the end of the world is a plus, but the solstice means that the days start getting longer tomorrow, and the warm weather was getting almost a little creepy. Say what you will about global warming, but we're not supposed to be picking zinnias and tomatoes in mid-December.
Another result of the extended warm fall is that one of my annual rituals has been long-delayed. That ritual is, of course, the Ceremonial Taping of the Shoes, that special moment that is indicative of the fact that I have given in to winter. Since the beginnings of mankind, the summer and winter solstices have been a time of great spiritual significance and, therefore, a time of  rituals. The Druids, the ancient Egyptians, and various native American cultures all had celebrations of these pivot points of the celestial calendar, culminating in the modern-day JBar's Taping of the Shoes.

"I got a black cat bone...I got some Mojo, too...I got a little..John the Conqueroo..."

While the ventilation provided by a good pair of road shoes is welcome during Arkansas summers, it is not desirable in the winter. Hands and feet are most vulnerable to cold, and taping the vent holes in the soles of your shoes really helps in the battle to keep your feet warm out on the road.
Last year, the CToS occurred over a month earlier, on November 18. This fall, I've spent more days riding in bibs and short sleeves than I have in tights, so there has been little danger of my feet getting cold. Now, it's time to tape the shoes and get my mind right for a couple of months of winter riding.

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