Thursday, January 28, 2010

Choose Life

I rode off this morning in a somber, serious mood. Yesterday, my client who is a doctor was regaling me with frightening stories of bicycle accidents. I woke up freaked. I still had every intention of going on a ride this morning, but having a wipe-out or getting hit was definitely on my mind.

My riding is methodical, steady and slow as I head towards Mt. Tabor. I'm breaking early so I have time to signal at each stop sign. Seeing a couple of pedestrians approaching an intersection I come to a complete stop, put my foot down and say, "Go ahead." They look shocked at my behavior and one of them says, "But it is so much easier for us to stop." I just smile and continue on.

When I get to the park I put in my earbuds and put on the minimalist sounds of Efdemin. It fits my mood. I start up the Lincoln side and about 1/3 of the way up start to smell something vile. "Oh, man, that's skunk," I say, temporarily jolted out of my serious ponderings. Oh yuck, now I'm sucking skunk air. I make it to the top and decide not to venture to that side of the mountain again.

My thoughts return back to the conversation with my client. One of the stories she told me was about a patient that kicked his heroine addiction, fell in love with bicycling, and then was hit and killed by a truck. This is a tragic story, no doubt. But, as I ride I'm sorting out a different lesson than the obvious, "Don't ride a bike because you might get hit by a truck" one.

I'm a little over half way through War and Peace. It is quite a book and I've heard of people only reading the peace parts for obvious reasons. But, I think the genius of the book is the war parts because through those stories, Tolstoy is telling us to do the things that makes us feel most alive. My favorite scene of the book is when a beloved character gets shot and as he is lying on his back losing consciousness he looks up and realizes how beautiful the sky is. He can't believe he has missed it all his life. He wonders if it has always been this beautiful and is so sad that he might not be able to see it again.

As I pedal up the mountain I think about how death is really near us all the time. I have a friend who had a heart attack and nearly died at age 36. Coming down the mountain the third time, I realize what I really want to take away from the sad former heroine addict story. The real tragedy would have been if he had not chosen to live life.

As I pedal home I feel satisfied with myself for having sorted through my fear. I say to myself as I ride, "Choose life. Do what you love. Ride your bike."

No comments:

Post a Comment