Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday I'm Free!

There's this connection with the bicycle: 
an anticipation of
the ride is just point to point but there's something more
spinning and wind
night and me
the traffic feels like a friend
because I know what it's doing before it does it
this light they see
this night is me
it's Friday and I am free

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday You Know the Drill

In the morning the day is full of possibilities, the lighting stark and literal

Same person, same bicycle, same place, same day. 

Different times, different light, different feeling, different energy, different.

You never bike past the same canal twice

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday We'll Find a Way

Arizona Canal, November Riding Weather

Wednesday, middle day, let's meet on our common ground, learn from each other, and finish the week stronger thru ongoing dialogue. This may not come naturally to either of us. This tolerance, this listening, this compromise, but keep your mind open, here in the center of the week, teetering at the peak having just ridden up, ready to ride downhill the rest of the week. 

Let's say this thing comes up. Something difficult. A new challenge. Here's what I think, Wednesday: let's look at the options we have which let us look at this challenge as an opportunity. Or if that's too sunny for too dark a thing, let's be real: let's find a way. Rather than stopping before we start, let's decide on a first step and take it. Then use that one-step-forward position as a new perspective on the challenge, from which we'll take one more step. Each time, thinking: we'll find a way.

Every day, each sunrise, a new chance to find a way. Thank you, Wednesday!

Sometimes the Wednesday way is indirect, but down a lovely trail

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Can't Run

Tuesday came after me...

Tuesday came after me and expected me to run. Instead, I stood my ground. Maintained my optimism, my clearness of purpose, my equanimity and balance, and stared Tuesday down. Suddenly, in the face of my resolve and steadfastness, Tuesday turned tail. Turned tail and ran. 

But I gave chase. Tuesday would not get away so easily. I followed across the distance, closed with Tuesday as the hours wore on, until I caught up. I had a word with Tuesday. A firm, direct, reasonable word. And you know what? Tuesday and I worked it out, and went on with our lives.

Yes it's a Christmas tree. Slightly off center of the red line, oh the OCD!!

Squids in the sky glowing in the night. Heart.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Can't See Me

The normal flow changes when the traffic lights become non-functional

Out the door on Monday and find the back tire is running short on air. Back inside, go to the bike area to fetch the Airbase Pro wonder pump, return to find that the cat has stolen the valve cap I left next to the tire. He grabbed it and ran off as if he had really found something. He dove into his tube house with his bounty, and probably added it to the pile of other small things he's taken from me. He peeked out from the doorway at me. I know he was thinking, "He can't see me. I am stealthy, and hiding. Motionless, I am invisible to him."

Fine, I said, keep it, it's yours, I have plenty, just don't eat* it. Return to bike area, get another valve cap, return to bike, pump up tire, install alternative valve cap, take Airbase Pro pump back to bicycle area. Return to bike. Find cat staring intently at the new valve cap, wearing EXACTLY the expression, "Why is your valve making that soft yet distinct hissing sound just slightly too quiet for your abused human ears to make out but plenty loud for my sensitive cat ears to hear?" Great. 

He gives me a look. His look says, "I have concerns about you riding off on this quietly hissing thing. Perhaps you would prefer to just stay home on Monday. We could bat valve caps across the floor and all around the house. Perhaps we might eat some."

I think it's a Christmas tree installation

The traffic at the light was thrown into a tizzy because the stoplight that they drive through every day at the same time for years happened to choose this day to lapse into a non-functional state. Everyone knows that you're supposed to stop at a non-functioning light as if it were a four-way stop, but no one seems to do this in practice, so they brought out a policeman to stand out there in the middle as a visible authority figure to wave at them to remind them what to do. I decided to avoid the whole thing and diverted to the sidewalk to just ride around the mess. 

Ride around the mess worked marginally better than riding through the mess, but still required a zig-zag two block detour to slurp around the back end of the disturbed mass of crawling drivers of disrupted routine. I thought I might never get around, but of course that's just a dire exaggeration, because just a few moments of patience and perseverance got me around and across, and put the micro-jam behind me.

I felt Monday breathing down my neck, but I did not look him in the eye. Instead, I left Monday in my dust. Monday can't see me, and the tire held just fine.  

*I briefly considered not telling my wife, the cat lady, about this incident, since I immediately had fears of what a cat endoscopy might cost. Then I doubled that. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Echo Coffeeneur #7: Where we coffeeneur echoes in Eternity

Conclusion of my Coffeeneuring 2014 rides

For the final ride of my entries in the Coffeeneuring 2014 Challenge, I chose Echo Coffee, a 12.5 mile round trip. Immediately upon entering Echo I noticed how hard everyone there seemed to be working. Yes, the baristas were hopping, but I mean the patrons: everyone, except one lady at the bar, had laptops open and papers spread across the table. I felt a little out of place without a laptop to work on, or at least some papers to spread out to look busy and full of purpose.

Convenient staple rack bike parking

Echo ambiance shot. The woman in the yellow sweater was the only person I saw there without a laptop

Echo is another place that takes coffee and roasting very seriously. From their web site, "For straight espresso, macchiato, and cappuccino drinkers, the default choice is a single origin El Salvador Bourbon. This amazing coffee is so round, complete, and complex it belies the fact that it is a single origin coffee. The crema is sweet and thick, like chocolate butter, yet it presents a wonderful brightness and berry fruit flavor as well."

The cappuccino in question

Coffeeshops with Bridgestones parked out front always are good

The coffee was good, with flavors more on the subtle and complex end rather than on the deep and assertive end. It seemed like what you would want to sip during an afternoon of working on your laptop with papers spread across the table.

This wraps up my Coffeeneuring 2014 Challenge rides. It's the first time I've finished. I enjoyed both the idea of it, and the actuality, of looking for good coffee shops to ride to, going to them, snapping some pictures, blogging a few words. I've tried some places I haven't been before, and found some new go-to shops when I want a fine cup of coffee combined with a bike ride. There were several that I didn't get to try yet, but there's always Coffeeneuring 2015!

As for the title of this post, I thought about the name of the shop, and the movie quote came to mind. I was thinking, if for some reason someone a hundred years from now wants to find out what was Coffeeneuring in the year 2014, and what was I doing on this day, I think I want them to read these seven posts. Humans landed a space ship on a comet this week. I coffeeneured to Echo Coffee. A lot of the other things from this week, well, I hope the echoes of them fade quickly. 

Global map of Coffeeneuring 2014!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Each Day Provides Its Own Gifts

A gift a found, wrapped up, next to my bicycle this morning

"Each day provides its own gifts." -Marcus Aurelius

As I rolled along on an easy Friday morning commute, I looked up, and saw this. The first sentence that entered my mind was, "Each day is a gift." And what if I always thought that? 

Each morning with a big bow on top, unwrap each sunrise, new and full of surprise and opportunity. 

A fresh start. Wash away any leftovers from whatever came before. 

Release all that I might be holding onto. Let it go. Look at now. Look at this moment in this new day.

Each day is a gift, I thought. And I had some doubts. Each day = every day? They are all gifts? All of them, the sum total of my days, and, also, even the few very bad ones? The classically terrible ones, plus the history-making bad ones, those are gifts? From who? And gift, wouldn't that mean potentially non-essential, or, at least, like a bonus, a gratuity, something extra? But, aren't the sum total of them essential?  And from who, this gift, oh let's not.

Wait, easy there, kid. Deep breath. Inhale the morning. Hold. Exhale. I liked where we were going before the previous paragraph.

Gifts in each evening also

What we can say is, this particular day, this very current one, this next one that came just after the previous, it certainly can be perceived in its fresh, new, just sunrising state, as a gift. Not guaranteed that I would be in it. The previous one could have been the last. 

To be reflect and be grateful for that. To be overcome with the greatness of the opportunity to try again, to learn again, to see and breathe more, to love, to create anew. That's a gift. It's also an antidote.

It's an antidote to the illusion of a build-up of worry, of pain, of stress, or doubt, from before. From yesterday, yesterweek, yesteryear, this gift of a new day is proof against holding onto those things because: unwrap it. You can do anything in it. 

"Discard everything except these few truths: we can live only in the present moment in this brief now." 

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privledge it is to be alive -- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."  --both also Marcus Aurelius

As the day wears on and night falls

As the day wears on, though, and as night falls, the fresh sunrise perspective of the day itself as a gift may seem less compelling. In the bright, warm breeze of a balmy Autumn morning the notion has weight, but at the end of a long day, it may feel more conceptual, slightly frayed by the day.

So back to the title of the post. It can be read with ambiguity, like many of his quotes. The nice way, where each day brings gifts unique to it, and one may have to be open to them, perceptive and aware, awake and alive to possibility, to grasp or understand them. I like that.

Also, though, at least in this wording, the quote can also mean that the day doesn't need any gifts or anything from you, it provides for itself. You don't give the day gifts, it provides its own. That's a little harder, but I'm OK with it, too, because in the grander scheme of things outside my little chain circle, it's no doubt true, and meaningful.

Look, a new sunrise. I see it, I feel its heat on my skin. It's a gift of a new start with the chance to achieve something on talent, on chance, on ability. On friendship or love. Different from yesterday, the gifts it provides could be new, different, challenging to see or understand. 

The songs of the birds.

The wind brushing my skin.

This bike ride.

A chance to understand and to fulfill someone's needs.

Those are the gifts of this one day.

Thanks, Marcus, for the thought.