Friday, March 14, 2008
I had a bit of time before work this morning and got a short ride in before the clouds rolled in. Nothing too epic, just about 15 miles, but it was good to be moving. The wind was from the west, bringing with it a large cloud bank. This made for a gorgeous backdrop for the bright sunlight from the east. Everything looks better in light like this, it was truly a beautiful morning.
The loop I rode is a pretty simple one, just an out and back square with some nicely spaced hills. Given my lack of conditioning, it was enough to get the heart rate up just in time to cool down with a good cup of coffee. One of Northfield's two windmills is out on this road. It is probably one of the most beautiful industrial machines I've ever seen. It's long, graceful white arms were silhouetted perfectly against the dark blue-gray of the clouds behind it. Definitely something good and calming to think about, as you can see it all along the route. As I said, Northfield is home to two of these. Carlton College owns this one, and St Olaf College owns the other. Both of these supply almost all of the power necessary for the entire colleges, and are a testament to what can be done looking toward a sustainable future.
As my ride come to an end at the edge of town, I passed this. It marked the sharp contrast that I see in American culture right now. This is about half a mile down the road from the windmill. Look at the house compared to the full size van in front of it, and yes, that is a full 4 plus stall garage! It was like a mental slap in the face to the good, happy thoughts I was having about the current state of things. It served as a reminder that while popular opinion is changing slowly, it still has a long way to go.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but damn, think about it.