The Victorian era poets, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, suggested movement away from the rationalism of the preceding Gregorian period in 19th century England. Instead they focused more on the importance of romanticism and mysticism of the natural realm and its applications to society. The context of this movement is well timed, as this 19th century was mostly dominated by radical modernized technological change. In a sense, it is an escapist movement.
The context is fitting then, as cyclocross is also a movement entirely devoid of rationalism: there is simply no reason, logical anyway, for one to grab a moistly ill equipped bike and ride (read: run) it through the mud. Yet, we feel it. A romantic or mystic pull to commit away the next several weeks seeking answers or ways for betterment via "natural" experience.
I selected today's poem, "The Lotus Eaters", because it's exactly how I feel after an Alpenrose weekend. If you're unfamiliar, the Lotus Eaters, or Lotophagi, were a mythic people of North Africa in Homer's Epic poem The Odyssey. After enduring wicked sea storm, Odysseus and his men land their ships on the shores of the Lotophagi. Long story short, the lotus plant makes all ones cares vanish as well as their desire to depart home. So to Alpenrose... "A land where all things seem'd the same". We arrive WAY too early amid the stormy mist-laden dawn, and everything has an oddly similar tinge. Almost deja vu. Same, but different. Clumsily, we find our pre-caffeinated way to our tents, our own shores of peace. Eventually, and lazily, the time to depart arrives yet we all become too distracted, have raced too hard, consumed our own kinds of lotus. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.
It's like I want to get home and I can't. I have to. I need to. This shit's not gonna clean itself. Naaaaaaaahhhhh. I'll just sit here languidly letting the alternating but not patterned waves of mud and exhaustion cover me, dirtying my exterior yet somehow cleansing my soul. Let's just chill a few more minutes now. "Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore / Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar; / O, rest ye, brother (and sister) mariners, we will not wander more".
Thanks to everyone for a stellar opening weekend at Alpenrose. The OBRA community is literally second to none. It's so so great to be back. Until next week! Check out everyone else's coverage of day two. So many other talented photographers out there!