Yesterday I did something that I hadn’t done in a while. I rode my bicycle to school. OK, the bike has 3 speeds in front, 9 speeds in back (so, to the uninitiated, it would be a “27-speed” bike), a generator hub running a 6w LED headlight, a taillight and rack, etc, etc. The school is law school, where I’m finishing my third year.
Apart from these details, though–and the fact that I am a great deal older than I was–things don’t seem to change much. I got much the same rush riding to school at 53 as I did at 13. And I think I know why…
We live in an insanely busy world. My life consists of law school, my family, multiple computers and a portable phone that handles two voice lines and six email accounts (plus calendars) just for starters. I am intensely busy all the time. Some nights (and some Fridays) I spend time working at the circulation desk in the library. Today, at one point, two people wanted books, my boss wanted me to do something, and someone else wanted me to stop the printer. I wanted to scream, like Jesus in Jesus Christ, Superstar, “There’s just too little of me!” At home I seldom pick up my guitars anymore because I’m rising at 5:00 and getting home at 10:00 or 11:00. There’s just no time.
But when I’m on my bike, it’s just me and the road (and the cars, of course, though riding home at 11:00 pm gives me a quiet route most nights). And to a great extent it was just me and the road when I was 13, before TV exploded from 3 channels to thousands, before computers, YouTube, car ownership, before all of that.
When I get on my bike, there’s time.
I don’t get the same thing from walking, although walking is fine. But walking is something you can do without consciousness. Riding really isn’t, and so it “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” Besides, walking is profane, ordinary…it’s something I do every day, and all throughout the day. Riding is sacred, special–usually only at the beginning and end of the day (and much less so these days than in the past).
OK, there’s no deep meaning in today’s post (is there ever?). But I would urge you to find that sacred activity within your own life that is wholly absorbing. It might be solitaire, it might be carving wood, it might be anything. But it’s something you do for its own sake, and that you concentrate on fully.
And do it.
I have an idea in the back of my head that someday, once again, we will regard time as a friend and not as an enemy. We will embrace it; we will rise with the morning sun and sleep when it goes down. I think that would be nice.