Circle Rut

Circle Rut | Beverly, WA | January 2020

Every now and then I snap out of life’s trance to realize I’ve been trapped in a circle rut. Making noise, burning gas, spinning round and round but going nowhere. Last week, I stumbled across my first motorcycle circle rut as I wandered the Beverly Dunes, a 300-acre playground for off-road vehicles. The circle looked like a UFO landing pad; online videos later explained it was a type of racetrack. Most unsettling: The circle rut is a perfect expression of what ails many of us — mindless, repetitive routine enabled by technology. It’s particularly troubling when you realize that with a tiny turn of the handlebars you could veer from the rut into a world of spectacle and wonder.

[More info: “Circle rut” is an off-road racing term for a circular sand track for motorbikes. Expert riders roar around the track, increasing speed, until they’re nearly parallel with the ground. They’re held in orbit by gravity and centrifugal force. Watch the action here.]