I’ve quoted from Amy Jo’s blog before (song lyrics, I think). She does such wonderful writing! This post was just so good, and so… “Ottawa” (and yes, I’m STILL amazed that I now live in Ottawa, even though we’ve now been here for 4 years). The best way to make sure I read this again (shamefully?) is to put it in my own blog…
It’s been too long. My fingers miss the flow of thoughts turning to page…the reminder as I go through busy days to stop and look between the lines. For lessons, for what gets missed as I speed by.
And these weeks have been speeding by…filled with good. And hard. And spilling over with moments calling for me to stop and pay closer attention.
This was one of those…and several months later I need to re-read right to that very last sentence.
My hands gripped the bicycle brakes, slowing my speed and easing my tires over the uneven asphalt, avoiding the cars speeding past on my left and the curb on my right. I can never cross that bridge without a quick look at the canal flowing underneath and the window of sky flashing past till it’s covered in a high-rise apartment building again. Breathing in the freshness of an October morning…even if it is a chilly gray one and I’m a little out of breath from the uphill climb.
It’s the best place close to home to watch the morning…or the evening sun. Sometimes I run up there just because I need to see it’s rays before they leave for the day.
Back to focusing on the speeding cars inches away and pushing away the thoughts of what a bad place this would be for a spill. It’s been 4 years but I still can feel that foot slipping off the pedal, the catapult over the handlebars and my face landing first, body following after. Ouch.
But at least that was an empty bike path. Here…well I don’t want to think about it.
To the left I see a welcome white line spring up beside me signaling the start of my own lane…a benefit of living in an active Canadian city with infrastructure for bike lanes. (They didn’t have those in Pachacamac Peru where I daily stepped over gaping sidewalk holes just a few months ago… sometimes no lanes at all and it was a free for all, cars, four legged creatures, and pedestrians).
My shoulders relax and my grip loosens, coasting as the downhill eases into a flat stretch.
Maybe my bike seat is a better place to think because there’s no Spotify, no morning news…no cell phone to glance at or blue dot on the Google map to follow . But for some reason that wide bike lane made me think of the ‘wider’ places in life. The days, the weeks, the seasons we can breathe a little lighter, ease the weight off of our shoulders and coast a little more.
And we wish those seasons, those stretches would come without the climb.
Without the speeding cars and curbs and bumpy pavement and the fear at any moment of landing facedown.
But I’m pretty sure the hills are what give my legs the best work out. And also that gripping those brakes and engaging every sense makes me more aware, more awake, more engaged in the journey. Pretty sure it makes me arrive at school more teacher-ready for 20 little people who need all my focus for the next 7 hours. And it definitely makes me appreciate that white line and wide lane at the bottom just a little more.
So if tomorrow is a day where I’m wishing for a smooth straight stretch…please remind me that good things happen outside of my ‘comfort zone’ …and that the view is always best at the top of the hill…
…after the climb.
Most mornings recently I’ve been cocooned in my car, trying to ward off morning chill and find the quickest lane in the rush of Bank Street traffic. It’s been harder to see that window of sky. But the few days when I ‘ve left my cocoon of warmth and donned my skates instead…the view of sky was there to reward…
…after the work-out.
(She closes with a photo of skating on the Rideau Canal.)
Thank you so much Amy!!