Nature is very consonant and conformable to herself. –Newton
Beauty is a very successful criterion for choosing the right theory. —Murray Gell-Mann
It’s my recovery day after six days of enthusiastic riding. I decide to try active recovery and go explore Embudo Canyon at the top of Indian School Road. Walking in a place where the desert meets the pine forest helps sooth my mind and body. I soft pedaled through the neighborhood in my Chaco Sandals. No spandex today thank you. Just taking it easy with my sunhat and backpack on. I took the Paseo de las Montañas trail and at the top of Indian School past the water tank I passed the Wilderness Boundary and stashed my bike in the bushes. Hiking time.
I walked past huge boulders through the narrow canyon neck and the terrain opened up. Desert wildflowers flashed against a backdrop of dark green piñon pine, smooth faces of granite rock and deepening blue skies. I walked to the Tres Pistoles and Crest Trail junction. I was drawn up into this mountain wilderness. Right next to Albuquerque but very different.
I used this time walking to reflect on the bike work and research I’ve been doing. Murray Gell-Mann’s phrase “you don’t need something more to get something more” keeps ringing in my ears. He’s talking about the fundamental principals of physics, and how complexity flows from simple rules plus innovation. Bicycling and walking work that way for our transportation system. It is the perfect symmetry for building a broader range of mobility freedoms and extending choices to people for getting somewhere. It’s that simple. We need more human scale choices that fit our sensibilities and allow us to apply our powers directly.
Sometimes people tell me I’m crazy for wanting people to be freer to bicycle. But the world is changing. Have you heard of the giving pledge? The Gates Foundation has talked Warren Buffet and 137 (so far) super wealthy people to give 50-100% of their fortunes to philanthropy during their life or in their will. It is not the systemic fix for our wealth distribution imbalance but it is an innovative interim solution. Who would of thought, rich people giving their money away. That’s crazy, but it is happening. Credit kindness, generosity, ambition and human ingenuity.
Walking helps me to get a feel for how plant communities fit together and take to the sides of the towering Sandia mountains. PBS’s Nature showed the science behind how plants talk to each other and cooperate. It makes sense that living things would connect. Visible elegance is evidence of how the world works and how living things get along. Thanks to the foresight of people preserving this land adjacent to ABQ I had a refreshing hike from my front door.