Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bike Here Now

There is a stretch of road on the U of A campus that I often pass through on my bike, just moments after leaving the chaos of the main city streets. It is a gently sloping downhill followed by a gradually curving left turn. The momentum from the downhill carries me effortlessly through the curve, and just as I begin to slow, my smooth pedalstrokes carry me up a slight hill, then downhill again, along the tree-lined road, toward home. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this place, but something about that curve unfailingly brings me joy.

Perhaps it's because I know the rest of the way home is easy, cool, and smooth. Perhaps it's the sweet smell of blossoming campus trees, the density of vegetation unparalleled in the rest of town, and the way the light falls on the red brick campus buildings. But no - it is something less tangible than all of that. It is a perfect moment. The smoothness of the curve, the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle, engaged and present in my body, my mind, and the world around me, and the knowledge that I am almost home - these things snap me so fully into the present moment that my often-wandering mind is momentarily paused. I just am, this moment just is; it belongs to me, and I to it.

This must be a hint at what it means to be fully present. I carry that moment with me always, both invigorated and bewildered by the notion that such discrete moments could become a continuous present, one in which I am fully awake.  

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