Monday, June 30, 2008

Slow

Blue skies are enormous and night skies are even bigger, almost as big as our imaginations. Meadows are vast and succulent with flowers and bees and the clouds of gnats hovering over them, visible only when the sun dances on the edges of their wings, spinning and churning in the air before us like stars and space dust and other things we've meant to think of but haven't gotten around to yet. Even the rocks, trapped as they can get in the hot cement of our streets, are wonders to behold, countless and vast. They are not like the little dots on ceiling tiles, the kind of things you can count if you choose to. And there would be something limiting about knowing their precise number, something sterile and too specific for a mind like mine. The world––or rather, the world I want to live in––is not meant to be framed in such ways. There doesn't seem to be much room for poetry and magic in precision and exactness.

I have been riding my bike a lot lately, to and from work, around the lake, through the park and up the hills above Lilley Gulch. My walks with Duncan have taught me to be aimless and open to the slow revelation of the hours and the seasons. Biking is like walking, only from a slightly higher elevation. With the wind in your face and a rush of momentum pushing against you it can even be like flying. I spent much of my long ride this morning with my arms outstretched and my head thrown back enjoying the exhilaration of speed and the forward thrust of my body through the air.

I watch people. It's what I do. I see them walk the lake or the trails, or jog or ride their own bikes, and I see so many of them passing through the world without taking notice of it at all. Perhaps their televisions or car windows have convinced them they don't know how. They shield themselves with their iPods or their cell phones or their conversations about which neighbor is doing what or sick with this or that. There is safety in gossip and isolation, but there certainly isn't much freedom. They all seem so sad and weary and it's remarkable to me that they don't even let the world touch them. I am certainly no better than anyone else, but on mornings like today's I can not move even a few feet without startling at some sight or another, be it a bee plodding through the tall, pink fluff of a flower or the dance of light across the water in the brook while the moss pulls and twists in the current just under the surface. I watched the clouds form over the mountains, big and white, taller than anything built by man and I marveled at them and how in a strange way they looked like the Eagle Nebula, a nursery and place where stars are born and whose tallest spires are far wider than our own solar system.This morning was bursting with discovery and as I moved through it I was thankful for my pace and the slow unfolding of my passage through the valley, for the exertion of my legs and lungs and for my eyes and ears, which made me witness to much more than most of the people I passed even dream about.

"Didn't you know,
you get to know things better
when they go by slow ."
(The Ancient Egyptians, Poi Dog Pondering)

3 comments:

Lori said...

Less Biking. More Writing to Lori. :-D
No, seriously... glad you're enjoying your time off!

lisa said...

Beautiful photos. I am trying not to hate you while I am trapped in my office.

Better still, I will sneak out for a quick walk and get a bit of a nature hit myself, all due to your inspiration :)

Greg said...

Reading your posts make me happy to be your friend. I just love the way you see the world.

All those people you speak of, they don't even know what a sad existence they have, do they? It's an amazing world all around us, every inch of it.

I believe t'was Auntie Mame who said, "Life is a Banquet, and most poor bastards are starving to death."?