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.