“We must go alone. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.” –RW Emerson, Self Reliance
“The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lessons of worship.” RW Emerson, Nature
One of the truest aspects of cycling is the way it connects us to the soil again and helps us put down roots in the places where we are growing our lives. Cycling helps us find our way home. It’s a technology that helps us notice when we are happy, and shows us how simple the joys in life can be, how direct and integral the connections between the land, water, air, all of nature, the whole community are to sensing a greater awareness of who we are and what we can be.
I think with all the fancy technology we have there is a tendency for arrogance, for pretending we know more about life than anyone else. But as Kurt Vonnegut points out in his talk called the Shape of Stories, we really don’t know anything more about the central mysteries of life than before. This is what Emerson referred to as the equivalency of all times. There is an equality inherent throughout humanity. It is this humility and understanding our limits that keep us innovating at our best, with the aim of enjoying life on the only home we know, planet Earth.
“I have tried to bring scientific thinking to literary criticism and there’s been very little gratitude for this.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Shape of Stories
And so on this Earth Day, I took a ride on lunch break. The butterflies are flying about in the winds, caterpillars are crawling on the ground and on flowerstalks, and the hummingbirds are arriving in town. It is just another day on this earth like any other day, which means today is magnificent, special and holds the complete history of time, all of the present, and the seeds of the future. It’s a great day. A nice day to take a stroll or a bike ride, and keep finding our way.
“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence…It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.” –Thomas Merton quoted in Rick Bass, The Blood Root of Art
Kurt Vonnegut’s talk Shape of Stories can be viewed on YouTube here since you probably can’t listen/watch it while “reading” this blog post and listening to Clapton and Winwood playing, but it is worth a view, as Vonnegut can tell a good story about storytelling.
Why cycling is a symbol for uplifting all of humankind:
The Thomas Merton quote, via Rick Bass, appears in Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data edited by Scott Slovic and Paul Slovic