NOTHING LIKE NATURE
I rode with the birds today. I saw the birdhouses at the bird sanctuary and smelled the horse manure trampled by car traffic and the cow manure freshly mixed with the soil on the local farms. I was part of a bird flying practice as the wind whipped through my ears and hair looking up trying to decipher the thousands of black specks in the blue sky on this clearest of days. I berated myself but only briefly for not immediately being able to identify the type of bird swarming from beach shore to marsh practicing for takeoff as the cool air enters our New England lives. I tried finding out what their names were when I got home, but couldn’t find the answer. Some type of sparrow, I am guessing, but the funny thing is what difference does it make, the view looking up at this marvel made me stay right there with them and their name became insignificant in this present moment. I blocked my ears from the noise of the deliberately loud truck mufflers like they were roosters getting ready for mating and I opened them to the silence of the breeze and the sounds of the ospreys so proud that I was able to differentiate their callings when they screeched.
I felt the power of my strong thighs reminding me of the beautiful Serena Williams and her power on the tennis court with her mighty rear challenging every body type we have ever seen on those all to0 often all too white shimmery courts. Pure power in these bad ass thighs on my bike ride this morning on my no speed old school Schwinn with only foot breaks never having to stand up to make it up a hill. (thank you Kathy Martin and Kyle). Gloriously immersing myself in the air of the morning simply because of my speed back down the hill. Cruising at a pace that made me feel like a child flying down the road on my yellow Schwinn banana bike way before pink became the mandatory go to color if you happened to be a girl buying your first bike. I saw the thatched roofs of some of the converted summer homes charming them into less campy style and more year round and old beauties before the megatrons took over and changed the landscapes. The white brick chimney on the right side of a front porch with a big old fashioned H on it that had an old familiar style about it reminding me of a Leave it to Beaver episode. I heard the cardinals and the waves and I smelled the beach that has a smell way better than any anti depressant could ever make a woman feel.
The glorious witnessing of active lives running and walking or flying by me on their five thousand dollar bikes in complete gear like they were on a road race in the south of France, racing past me trying to finish their workout for the beginning of their Sunday. Helmets everywhere, I am sure they were judging me with disdain for my choice in not wearing one. Each time someone rode past me and I sing songy chirped, “Good Morning!” the sound of my voice almost visual sparkles exemplifying my complete joy in this spectacular moment, most didn’t reply because they were either plugged into some music or were I am guessing here judging my lack of helmet choice. I applauded myself when two millenials one female tattooed and adorable and the other one, male and shirtless with long bleach blond hair flying in the wind rode past me helmetless, and judgment free as they too were experiencing the same glory in the freedom of a bike ride on an early Sunday morning.
Since the cold days of this past spring, every time I have driven down Third Beach Road in Middletown, RI past Norman Bird Sanctuary, past the hundreds of birdhouses in the grassy field with St. Georges steeple in the back drop to the right and the chilly Atlantic Ocean to the left, I have thought of this as a perfect bike ride. Summer comes with an inordinate amount of fantasy availability of time and hopefulness of “best -laid plans” like an open road with no traffic. Then just like a nose twitch of Samantha Stevens in Bewitched, it is the last weekend before Labor Day and just like that, the lists of kayak trips, day hikes and paddleboard excursions get added to the ‘I’ll get to it list.’ I have found as I am getting older, it seems as if there is less time in the day or in the week. It always seems like it is Monday again and I am not sure what I did that added to my need for spiritual centeredness.
So this early Sunday morning as Hurricane Harvey blasted Texas, Washington DC pardoned criminals and I am getting ready for my final fill before my last upcoming surgery, I took that bike ride alone and with no plan, no helmet, in a skirt and sandals like I was riding around Copenhagen. My dear friend, Morgan, reminded me about the no helmet choice in her nurturing commentary since she passed me on the way to a tennis match. I am sure the many riders out there sat in judgment of my decision, but it is my life. I am a very aware bikerider and I like the wind in my ears and the sounds of the world flying by me and with me. I love the feeling like I am in high school again before my world changed before I got my license to drive a car. Once this happened, the bike rides, once the only form of transportation unless you had a friend who had a car, became an unlikely choice in favor of the more convenience of the mechanical one.
As I traversed this beautiful spot I am lucky to reside in, I realized in my moment in morning nature finally doing something this summer I had on my list how simple it is to add beauty to our busy lives. We spend so much time surfing bland and uninteresting stories on social media and reading about stuff that seems like it matters at the time until all of a sudden an entire hour has flown by and so has that chance to take that bike ride. When I am out in nature moving, no spin class, no circuit training and weight pounding exercise gets me to feel like I just participated in a come to Jesus moment. Nature is God to me. When I am participating in its sanctuary, I often wonder why I ever hesitate to do it again. Today was magic and I will cherish its loveliness and my decision to get off my ass away from the TV horrors, the news, work, and the noise of my busy brain for the delicious hour I allowed my healthy body to enjoy.
This was my holy moment today. Praise the Lord indeed, whoever she is, wherever she may be, for sure Mother Nature is the divine for my personal spirit. AMEN or AWOMAN however you want to think about the word, nature is the gift that keeps on giving and I never want to take it for granted especially after this morning ride.