Another excerpt from my manuscript (I guess it is not a book until it is published): The Commonzense of Saint James
I ride a bicycle on trips anywhere from thirty miles to eighty miles at a time. A short thirty-mile ride may take me about two hours depending on the terrain, whereas an eighty-mile ride may take up to five or six hours. When I first started riding, two hours seemed like an eternity to be disconnected from the world of cell phones, texts and emails and that made me feel very anxious, I didn’t want to miss something important because I am very important……right. It’s not that I don’t take my phone with me I just can’t check it every five minutes as required by federal-state and social law when I am pedaling.
Certain roads I travel have little or no traffic, certainly more cows than cars, and the only sounds I hear are the whipping of the wind across my ears, the whirl of my tires rotating across chip-and-seal blacktop, the screech of a red-tailed hawk as it swoops high in a clear blue sky, or the sound of a distant thunderstorm approaching. It is truly wondrous for me to experience such serenity, but it also makes me sad to think that so many people can’t disconnect to enjoy this kind of peace. There is a price to pay for this experience, and most are unwilling to pay it. I know people who think I am crazy for devoting so much of my time and effort to this pursuit, and my response to them is always the same: I regret that I didn’t discover it sooner.
What I have learned to accept and appreciate is the adventure that Ralph Waldo Emerson describes when he writes, “Each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” For me a ride on a quiet country road any time of the year is truly “a picture which was never seen before.” I can and have ridden the same route many times going in the same direction, and have discovered something new with each adventure. Because I give myself this quiet meditative time on the bicycle, I find that I no longer crave the constant stimulants that are so prevalent in our society. I don’t need my cell phone constantly by my side or the television on as background noise. I don’t need to read every email as soon as it arrives or check every text message that makes my phone vibrate. My ears have learned to accept the silence; my eyes can accept the stillness, and my mind can live in the moment.