bike ride for the soul

Yesterday, I got on a bike for the first time in 10 years. Well, let me begin by saying how much I love working with my hands, creating and fixing things. The bike that I used was given to me by a friend who had gotten it from another friend, and my friend didn’t use it for a year. It needed a little tune-up, and even though I hadn’t had my hands on a bike in, as I said, 10 years, I got to put it into working order. Mm, there’s just something so wonderful about tinkering with a simple machine and getting it to work for you! So very satisfactory…

But yes, finally I got it into working order, hopped on it, rode it drunkenly around the driveway. I may have hit one of our bigass boulders that marks the side of the driveway – not because I didn’t see it, but I just was so out of practice. Despite the rocky start, I took the bike to the park right next to our house and hit the trails, and oh my….it was just lovely. Just so beautiful. It helped that yesterday was unbelievably warm (80 degrees in Michigan in mid-March!!!) and sunny and just gorgeous. It helped that the paths I took ran along the Huron River, through lovely forested areas. It was just incredibly beautiful. I found myself grinning (and consequently had a mouthful of gnats) as I rode along, wind rushing past my ears.

I don’t get out often enough and get in touch with nature. I know that this is important to me – I just never remember to do so, even though I live outside the city and I’m surrounded by parks on all sides. Yesterday was a reminder of how glorious it is. I felt so much peace, so much happiness, being out there in the sun, on those forested, riverside paths.

I’m such a convert. I came home yesterday, and immediately started planning my next bike ride, which I wanted to take early this morning. Well, that didn’t happen, but I went out this evening from about 5:30-6:30. So gorgeous (haha, I keep saying that, don’t I?): swans on the river, geese nibbling on grass alongside the paths, family picnics and children playing in the parks. The most memorable moment of all was on my trip back, I heard organ music. Across the river there was a church, and beautiful, slow, solemn music was ponderously coming from it and spreading across that shining river. I stopped, got off my bike, and sat down in the grass for 10 minutes. It was so peaceful, so spiritual and moving, I was near tears. That moment was a gift.

When I think back over my life, the moments I’ve spent out in nature have been some of the most uncomplicatedly beautiful moments ever. That “uncomplicatedly” part is crucial – when I’m out there, things are simple. It’s just my body, reveling in how beautiful it is, caught up in the moment, feeling intensely, without reservations, with all my heart. I need to make more room in my life for these moments.

The blog post below entitled “Sprummertime” begins with a quote that sums it up quite accurately:

Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God. ~ Leon Bloy

 

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