Friday, May 9, 2014

Continuing my spring renewal

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for-
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world-
over and over 
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking 
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant-
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these-
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

-Mary Oliver

I may not be religious, but I do feel there is something greater than me when I'm surrounded by animals

A friend of mine was talking about a snake that found it's way into his house one year.  The snake itself, was rarely seen, however, the shed skin was often left as a reminder that it was still in the house.

I think about this scenario and compare it to myself.  On the first truly warm week this spring, I ride through the farmland, shedding my clothes as if they were layers of skin.  I also continue "spring cleaning" of my mind--deciding who I want to be, what I want to, emotionally and mentally, carry with me and what I want to shed.  I allow the things I no longer wish to drag around to peel off me and float away in the wind.  This thought is a bit funny since as I write this, my nose and forehead are peeling from forgetting to apply sunblock last week.

We must be willing to get rid of
the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed
before the new one can come.
-Joseph Campbell

Spring is a powerful season.  Although my body and mind are constantly regenerating themselves--at a rate which sometimes dumbfounds me--I make an extra conscious effort to encourage new growth, not unlike forcing bulbs.  It just makes sense for me to do this each spring since I am constantly surrounded by renewal.  On my rides I witness farmers planting their crops, new animals being born, and woodland plants pushing through last year's decaying leaves.  The grass seems to magically change color before my eyes--one day being brown, the next day becoming such a vibrant green my eyes go into shock, and at every water source, frogs, who were just tadpoles, sing so loudly they drown out the bird songs. 

With this renewal and spark of energy, also comes an awareness of things I could improve upon.  The list is always long, but I pick and choose what I know I have the energy and time to work on without letting myself or anyone else down, I also follow my gut on what takes precedence.  It is on my solo rides I find the clarity of what I want to work on next.  Oh, believe me, there are times when all I think about is what I'm going to make for dinner or something mundane like a funny interaction I had, but nine times out of ten, a lot of work gets done on the bike.

I do have to make note that it is not the bike alone which sparks these changes.  More often than not, a person in my life will say something that begins to turn over in my head once the pedals begin to move.  It is the combination of wisdom from my friends or from an author, being outside close to nature and forward movement which does the trick.  I think these three act like a stool--lose one leg and the function ceases.

Recently, I chose to reconnect with a friend I felt I had wronged a couple years back.  I had known, for quite some time, I had acted poorly, however, until a long spring ride, I didn't know how to approach the subject or what to say.  Somewhere in the middle of farm country, it came to me.  It wasn't about "fixing" the issue, I just knew I didn't want carry the "old me" around any more.  I also wanted this person to know I was sorry for my actions.  Yes, cycling, or just being active in the spring, can be very powerful.  It is something look forward to each year and now that it's here, I couldn't be happier.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
-old Buddhist proverb
*I read this most recently in the book Falling Uphill by Scott Stoll

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