It's as easy as putting on your shoes and going. That's what I tell myself. But sometimes getting back into health and good shape takes patience and center. I had been waiting all week for all the accoutrements for my new bike to arrive from amazon.com, such as a comfortable seat. It arrived yesterday, and so today, having the day off, I decided to put all the pieces on my bike--all before my doctor's appointment at 10:30 in the a.m. Pschaw, riiiiiiight. I bought a basket to clip onto the bike rack, you know, the kind that collapses. It came with hardware--nuts and bolts--and thank goodness for grief, as my tool drawers are nice and organized from having to put my wonder dog, Chicca, down. So, finding the tools is half the battle, but then it takes an entirely different part of my brain, which I can channel, but not when I'm in multi-task mode.
So, having eaten, had a cup of coffee, I sat on the floor with the bike in the middle of the living room, as the Bay Area was deciding to have a foggy day again. (Surprise, surprise!) I knew that getting this basket on was the hinge to whether I would start biking today or not. After fits and starts, and feeling dextrously challenged, I finally managed to get the pieces to fit together, the threads to entertwine in the tiny metal pieces.
It's amazing to listen to the dialogue in my head trying to talk myself out of the ride. I needed to get to my doctor's appointment at Kaiser in Oakland, maybe 2.5 miles from my house, with a few hills in between. I knew that I could opt out of the hills, and just add more distance to the journey. Then, I couldn't find my headphones so that I could have some music to motivate the ride. And that was going to be the straw, but some inner strength crept out of nowhere, and basically, I was out the door, with basket packed: lunch, snacks, camera, purse. And off I went.
I conquered the hills. The long way seemed, well, long. And I had to be at Kaiser sooner than later. Sometimes, that convention of time is a really downer.
I had made an appointment to be in Alameda after the doctor's visit. Way on the southwest side of the island, a good 6.5 miles from Kaiser. Cruising through Oakland's industrial side leaves something to be desired. And the flat lighting really didn't strike any desire to stop to take any pictures. I really wish I had one of those pairs of glasses that you can snap pictures from. Or wish I could download all the "images" I've snapped in my minds' eye.
My appointment in Alameda was to finish a project that I've been working on for 2 years. It all began in Kyoto, when I was at Fushimi-Inari Shrine with my husband, Tony and my good friend Suzy. Before entering the vermillion tunnel of toriis, there was a vendor having the Japan equivalent of a garage or yard sale, except sans garage or yard. He had small Japanese antique bric-a-brac, and then some old kimonos, and two very gorgeous obis, you know, the ornate sashes that tie the kimonos together. I bought them each for 500 yen, basically, less than $5.00. A steal, really. I gave one to a friend, and then suggested that we make purses out of the two of them. The problem being, I decided to make my own pattern--which became a serious geometric nightmare to finish. Sometimes my brain just can't wrap itself around seam allowances and how pieces will come together. Thus, the project has sat in a plastic box in the shed, and most recently, under my bed.
My job is currently in Alameda, and I work for a family who moved in with grandma, as she had a massive stroke, becoming paralyzed on the left side. She is left-handed, and a quilter. So, I figured, she'd be able to help me finish it by giving me suggestions. And, she has this incredibly fancy sewing machine, it actually levitates by use of a remote control. I've never seen anything like it. Then again, I'm not much of a seamstress. I just like to sew. It turned out that grandma's quilting friend happened to show up as well, and gave me some good pointers, and saved me a lot of headache, like how to affix the strap portion onto the body of the purse. So, it's finished! It's far from perfect, but it is a reminder of beauty and shrines and center. I'll post a picture soon.
And by the time I left, it was 3:30 p.m. and the sun was shining. I got to ride through some of Oakland's more "colorful" neighborhoods. Fruitvale. I do wish I had taken some photos, as the juxtoposition of some of the cerulean blues against the backdrop of deep azur sky were really striking, as were the deep shadows of still being in full sun. Gotta love contrast. Like people with barred windows shining the mega-rims on their Esplanade SUV. It's a different planet sometimes than I'm from. Makes for interesting ruminations. Gratitude for the simpler things: my rose bush is blossoming, and hummingbirds are dancing in and out of the agapantha.
I made it home, sweaty and done. I think my total mile count was probably around 15. However, I didn't get to install my new speedometer until my good friend Michael came over, and helped me. So now, I'll be able to tell how many miles I've traveled, how many calories burned, and what the temperature was, and more things than I probably need, but it's a measuring stick. I like numbers and knowing random facts. Keeps my mind stimulated.
Doesn't take much to stimulate my mind, the opposite is what I need. Center. Om. Mu.
And then you meet people who break you out of center, like the guy sitting on his porch in his Oakland neighborhood, where Michael and I parked to go grab some Thai food.
He says in a seemingly curious tone, "Where are you going?"
I respond non-chalant, "Thai Food."
"Hiking?!" He seems not disgruntled, but rather dumbfounded that we would be going hiking.
Michael clarifies that we're going for dinner.
"Well, you're eschewing my parking space to go enjoy your dinner."
Michael said, "Well, it's a public street. Have a nice evening."
We heard him mutter something under his breath, to the effect, "Go enjoy your dinner with my curses."
e.e. cummings wrote:
Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it's there and sitting down
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of deathhate you
I really send an envelope of compassion to this man, swinging on the porch at the cusp of twilight, my most magical time, when light marries dark, and I tip my hat.