Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Gift of Morning Grace

I finally had the chance to ride my bike to work this past week, Tuesday and Thursday. That meant heading out the door around 6:10 in the morning for the slightly less than six-mile ride. It starts out on a quiet residential street, crosses a busy cross-town street, then winds through another residential neighborhood.

Then comes a better part. I cross the Zumbro River and coast south along the river on the bike trail. One more bridge along the main highway and back to the trail and the best part- several miles along the Cascade Creek. Heavenly.

Then the final leg along the streets to work.

At 6:30 in the morning the streets are pretty much left to the joggers, rabbits and cyclist. The river had its share of fishermen out for an early catch. The Creek was noisy with ripples and running water. The smell of lilacs and damp earth wafted in spots as the morning cool kept me focused and wide-awake.

It was a ride of mindful meditation. You don't have to sit and breathe in rhythm to meditate. In fact most of us are not all the good at that. But to get in the zone and pedal the morning calm with mindfulness and openness to what is happening around me was a great way to start the day.

The ride home was different, but no less exhilarating. More cars meant more fuel smell. More walkers and strolling with dogs. The temperature a bit warmer but I was on the way home so I didn't worry about the sweat. The Creek still set the tone for the ride. Nothing like running water in its natural environment to get the mental kinks from a day at work.

This, too, was a meditative ride with a different focus. Renewal in the afternoon was just as powerful as starting well in the morning. Over these months of developing my meditation and awareness, I didn't expect this.

But then again, if life were all about what we expect, think how boring that would be. To become aware and mindful can even turn commuting into a deepening time.

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