When looking through my montage of snapshots from my iPhone, this particular picture grabbed my full attention. I captured this tranquil, but colorful piece of nature cycling around Stanley Park in Vancouver. It caught me by surprise only because my eyes are usually accustomed to the earthy tones of the desert landscape. I’ve never witnessed this kind of red leaf layer cake with the sky peeking from the top.
As I maneuvered my bike around the park, children played in the sand on a nearby beach, couples walked as they gazed at the water, a young woman propped a book on her lap and runners maintained a steady pace on a nearby trail. There were brief glimpses of this everyday magic all across the park. On one side of the park, I spotted an area dedicated to totem poles, while on the opposite edge an artist built cairns on the beach. As I witnessed these various snippets of life, I felt the wind crawling up my spine while the wheels kept edging forward to yet another undiscovered treasure. At the next bend, a group of dancers practiced their version of Irish dancing as spectators gathered to watch. While I steered my bicycle around the tunnel, I stared at the path ahead.
My daughter forged faster than I could keep up. She periodically waited for me to catch up. So much of life passed on the pathway, that I slowed down, actively paying attention to looking around and when I stopped, tilting my gaze up and behind. I sensed the glimmer of these moments, something that provided a swirl in the present. Fully immersed in the freedom of riding my bike, I didn’t feel the present leaking out of my body. Instead, the moment felt like it was mine and I hadn’t bartered it away as I had in the past.
Several times, my daughter cried out, “Hurry up, Momma,” but her commands failed to hinder the stillness and waves of untrammeled joy I felt in being a kid again. Several years had passed since my feet pedaled around a scenic route. I forgot how present you can become sinking into the moment and observing others’ joy while experiencing your own. These thoughts brimmed to the forefront when I intersected with the picture again this past weekend. It helped me recognize that sometimes the present is barely there, but still peeking into my life.
It is up to me to let myself bike into that treasure.
I envy your seasons, Rudri! Here in LA we don’t really have them. We just have “hot” and “cold” lol. I love the imagery you painted. It’s amazing what a bit of leisure and down time can do to draw you back to happy moments and memories.
Thanks, Nina. I only experienced the seasons because we were in Vancouver. My permanent residence is in the desert so our temps are mainly hot and hotter. Leisure time does help you appreciate those things that you may take for granted.
I suspect we forget the beauty of nature in other regions, reminded of its beauty when we see it with fresh eyes.
I’m happy to live in an area with four distinct seasons, and trees with these deep red leaves, but nothing like the colorful beauty I imagine you have in the desert. It would be striking to me, as this was to you.
I took it for granted when I lived in a city with changing seasons. The landscape in the desert is gorgeous, but sometimes you long for rain or an overcast day. Changing weather can be so inspiring for an artist.
I love Stanley Park! We also have one here, but it’s not like the one in Vancouver.
I love the joy you felt. I haven’t ridden a bike, freely, in YEARS.
Tamara, you must get on a bike. It is a freedom that I forgot.
Perhaps you can do so when S. and D. get a little older. It will be fun sharing bike time with your children.
A beautiful post. Love all the images and your reflections. I think Wolf is right sometimes we see beauty when we travel with fresh eyes . I know that I do…..
Traveling does allow us to throw our hands open and embrace different discoveries. I am not certain that I’d take the time to ride a bike in my hometown. Experiencing a different city offers a freedom you can’t capture at home.
I felt like I was on that bike ride with you! You reminded me of the totem poles I used to see all through the northwest in my childhood. Nice smile for the day 🙂 Thank you!
Thanks, Windy. There are so many opportunities to be a kid again in Stanley Park.
When you find yourself in a moment that truly feels like yours, oh what a wonderful feeling! I love how summer slips into autumn. Everything is so beautiful in the fall.
The beauty is unprecedented for me because it isn’t part of my hometown tapestry. I felt as if I could experience it more because I saw it as a novelty.