This morning’s wride took me to some cool places within. I put together some life observations that resonate, at least to me. Heck, I’m writing this, so the words and concepts better resonate, write? (hey, you do know I misspelled that on purpose, correct?…)
I wrode unplugged today. The first couple weeks of wriding, I listened to my playlist on my iPhone. Cool enough. This past week, I listened a few days to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. Way cool stuff there.
This morning, however, I allowed my earbuds to flop around on my chest outside my shirt. I wrode with the cicadas, the birds, the street sounds, my breathing, the soft, metallic grind of our chains, the crunch of tires over pine needles, the scurrying of squirrels and bunny rabbits as we swished by them.
I embraced more of the blue skies above, more of the trees individually and collectively. I enjoyed my breathing patterns, the rhythms of our bikes, the connection to my world. I noted vines climbing everlong into trees and millions upon millions of blades of grass – and a blade of grass. My eyes took in more leaves – and a leaf.
For the first time in these three weeks, I experienced the surreal connection, albeit tenuously and a quite watered down, bike wrides from years past. I have a wride, one from Dunbar Elementary School back in the 60’s, where I sang a tune titled Swing High, Swing Low.
On this wride over forty years ago, I swung my oversized, bulky bike left and write to the rhythm and the words – Swing high, swing low. Oh what a lot of the world you see. Over the top of a tree! That wride home from school, afternoon shadows dancing from the leaves on a breeze, implanted a moment in time I must never relinquish.
Connection to places and times often involves music. As I wrote in an earlier post, specific memories of a tune playing at a particular time imbedded that place in my memory, never to be forgotten. Even though I’ve heard these songs in hundreds of different locations, one particular place in time often gets represented. For instance, the first sock hop of my seventh grade school year, probably September 1971, You Are Everything by the Stylistics and a slow dance with Dawna Martin.
Back to the wride. This morning I felt the call of past wrides, past experiences, past joys of wind in my face, songs on my heart, and hope in my world. The call felt ethereal, like ghosts of my past calling me back to better times, yet at the same time, not in a negative, escapist manner, but in a “now” manner.
Maybe the past never goes away. Maybe we simply dull ourselves to the experiences we once knew. Maybe the joy and freedom and childlike focus we once defined still lives within us. We collect so much information and experience so much sensory input, I’m coming to believe we miss the true importance of our lives. One of the most cruel aspects of ‘growing up’ appears to be our distance from the child within.
I know, many have written and continue to write on this subject. I’m no scientist, no Phd philosopher, but I sense and believe we lose the very best aspect of ourselves when we give up our youth. I don’t mean the immature, inane side of youth, but the ‘youth’ side of us that takes the time, even in a moment, to appreciate something of profound beauty, even if it be simply a song, a bike wride, a breeze, and a joy.
For my heart and soul, I would take the peace and exhilaration of those moments over the pleasures of adulthood any day, any time. Innocence, the appreciation of a moment without concern over what needs to be done at home, carefree (now there’s a great word/concept), and pure, unattached joy.
Yes, ghosts of bike wrides past whispered in my heart today. The greatest aspect of their call was not for me to come “back” to join them, but to simply join them now. They never really went away. I simply tucked them into storage because I no longer possessed the time to play with them. What a sad, sad oversight on my part. We give up the best of ourselves when we give up our joy. The more childish, often the more precious.
I’m finding the ability to reconnect with these experiences takes a willing, relaxed heart. Much like the writing muses, this cannot become a ‘forced’ pursuit. You must be willing to be open to inviting the joys of your childhood back into your life. I don’t recommend trying to live in the past either. The past had trouble enough of its own. But the past also contained joy, and peace, and beauty and many other incredible attributes. I recommend inviting them into your ‘present’.
Walk away from your “plugged in” connectedness for a while today. Give yourself a few hours to visit with the ‘ghosts’ of your childhood. You may find, as I have, they are not actually ghosts but simply friends you let slip out of your life. Joy and peace and wonder still live within you. Setting them free may only be a bike wride away.
This was my childhood genius. Shhh…. (he still lives within me!)