Just A Speck

A ride including some unfamiliar and enjoyable roads – from Thame down to Reading, taking in places like Tetsworth (great smell of creosote), Clare (to live in which, everyone ought to have to change their name to Clare), Pyrton (no pyres evident), Britwell Salome (nothing to suggest dead saint’s heads served on platters), Ewelme (no sheep, no elms, but watercress beds), Pigs Trough Bottom (I kid you not), Braziers Park (nothing burning), up Catsbrain Hill (no, no brains evident) and then down into the Thames Valley.

OK, I know these aren’t mountains or even particularly tough hills, and I accept that going up Catsbrain Hill is the easy way to climb over that particular hill range. Nevertheless, as I was heading out from Thame and looking south, the sight of that geographic barrier ahead did make me feel a bit dwarfed. I had this mental image of just how small a speck I was, moving across the landscape, powered only by my legs, with hills to climb and so on.

South Oxon hills to climb

I have to get up there

I don’t know if it’s good to feel small – it’s tempting to think humanity needs to be put in its place. It’s also possible to feel vaguely intimidated by big threatening autumnal skies (which thankfully came to nothing).

Cloudscapes dwarfing a mere cyclist

Cloudscapes dwarfing a mere cyclist

But then you look at the cut in the hills made for the M40 and that’s us humans carving nature to suit in a pretty chunky kind of way. And if it had all gone pear-shaped for me, I could have phoned someone to help me out, using mobile digital telecommunications that’s mind-boggling complicated and entirely ‘unnatural’ (if that concept’s at all valid), and there are aerials and what-not all around, including on top of the hills I’m climbing. Etc.

Carving up nature to suit

Carving up nature to suit

We humans do create a lot; we do impose our will to make the world as we want it to a very large extent. I suppose it all comes down to whether we can be sufficiently creative and sufficiently dominant to overcome our ever-present stupidities and failings.