Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Riding in a Bubble

It was cooler today, in the 60's, as compared to 90 yesterday, as I went for my bike ride. The temperature dropped sharply late evening and the bike trail was swamped with bugs at few places, especially near the swamp. I swallowed a few bugs on the way back, which must have given me an extra oomph to buzz off cuz I made good time. But this post is not about bugs. It is about birds and sounds. And being aware of those sounds. About awareness itself.
On the trail, seeing a fellow rider with his iPod made me reflect on why I don't carry mine when I go biking. It is because, I told myself, I want to be aware of my surroundings when I ride. Listening to iPod would cut me off from the woods I am riding in, and thus disconnected from the woods but connected to my iPod would be as if I am on the stationary cycle in the gym, which I don't quite enjoy. The whole purpose of biking outdoors would be lost.
But then, I continued talking with myself, here I am biking in the woods but still not connected with the woods. Still lost in the world I carried with me in my head when I left house. It was as if I left the house in a bubble and was traveling in the bubble. Why wasn't I listening to the birds around? And just as I thought this, my mind focused on the sounds around and the bubble burst. I heard a bird. Then another. Then another in the distance. Then another sound which I didn't know where it came from but it was definitely a bird. And suddenly there were these bird sounds all around. So many of them. Some loud. Some not so loud. Some seemed near, others far.
It was as if the birds had suddenly started chirping all together, in sync, then one after another, then again together. They were conducting a symphony in the woods and I would have passed through totally unaware of it. Just as I have been passing through in my bubble over the last few days.
I listened to the sounds around for a few moments till my attention got diverted to the biker in front who I wanted to pass. It was one of those cases where he was riding at a speed just slower than mine, not slow enough for me to easily pass, and fast enough for me that demanded an extra push on my pedals to leave him at a respectful distance. With my attention completely on this passing exercise, the sounds of birds were history. Having passed the biker, something else caught my attention and then something else and so on and on. I reached home. The birds too went to their respective homes and slept.
I am reminding myself to listen to them tomorrow morning first thing when I awake. We will see how that goes.

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