The rowan…

The rowan has besprinkled her berries
the robin is now elsewhere
bare, exposed and open
tonic, nurture and growth
an anointed shield might soften over time
skin can be shed
ever so special
whispers of freedom
let it go

Bike Uncategorized

Consider the birds of the air?

Yes, I’m occasionally guilty of unhealthy attitude, impaired perspective and disappointing reaction, aren’t we all?

Consider the person in front and the one behind?

Reconsidering one’s perspective can be a slow process. Perception can be blurred and clarity can be lost for a while. Perhaps that’s why sometimes it might be hard, seem not possible, or even not an option.

Is deference compatible with difference?  Is love compatible with life?

I’m starting to consider if riding a bike is incompatible with modern road attitudes. It’s compatible with the written rule of the road but all too often that (common sense) is forgotten in the heat of the moment.

Having moved from road-cycling to commuting on the cycle-path/back-road route, I find you encounter more of people and more real-life. The previous route was a traffic route, even though it was part rural and mainly b-roads etc it was flowing traffic, and in retrospect the mindset was ‘driverly’ – arguably it had to be, to join with the flow. After a year, I came to realise that someone cycling might not survive with the current general dominant attitude of ‘drivers’ (on this route) and to be safer, I moved to the new route.

On the new route I now interact more; I ride a “5 lollypop-lady route”, I say ‘morning’ etc to 4 of them. I pass children who exchange smiles and ‘youff speak’. I meet dog-walkers with various salutations. I exchange gestures of acknowledgment with drivers at numerous junctions. Generally people are glad to be alive when given the opportunity. However, on the new route, I also see all sorts of all sorts, yes there’s still the problematic driverly attitude, but also there are still crazy cyclists, unobservant pedestrians, dizzy kids, and unconsidered attitudes.

It seems obvious to say that the challenge is not drivers, it’s not cyclists, it’s not pedestrians, it’s not young people, the affluent, arty, sporty or any other group, stereotype or sub-culture…  The challenge is perspective and attitude – both mine and yours.

It’s not one’s mode of transport, one’s choice of attire, one’s hairstyle, age or preferred drug – it’s one’s perspective, attitude and reaction.
It’s the not just my attitudes that need discipline (love?), it’s also the attitudes one encounters… it takes two to tango. Yes, some attitudes are just hard to believe. It often seems difference has usurped deference and survival of the fittest, brightest, shiniest, richest is often perceived king (or queen).

Yes, I’m occasionally guilty of unhealthy attitude, impaired perspective and disappointing reaction. Even with good intentions, in the heat of interaction, reactions can be inconsiderate. I guess the key is aiming to stay warm but minimise the heat?

In the heat of interaction “I AM” - Images cause Assumption which causes Motivation (and reaction).
Alas, you will always find some attitudes and characters that are intolerable.
The interaction between things is what makes them fecund.

Enchanted by the sparkle of novelty.

It rained the other day (you may have noticed). My initial reaction was:

“glorious ride in rain, utterly invigorating and uplifting, joyous, rain-in-mouth, deacon-blue-in-head, alive!!! #initialunconsideredreaction”

After the endorphins settled, my slightly more-considered reaction commented on the “Blessed Rain” see below

And today; the wet ride in was again ‘refreshing’, but I came to consider that we’re often enchanted by the sparkle of novelty.

The novelty of rain, sun, the new, the old, the different, the shiny, the dull, the kill, the birth, …

When we perceive new things we are often enchanted and drawn to the joy that they evoke.
That joy might be temporary, fleeting or deep and wholesome – it might be nurturing and essential or unhealthy and toxic.
I hope we can all realise any opportunity for enchantment but be wary of its captivating effect on our perspective and attitude.

Make the most of ‘the different’ today, en-joy it, but be mindful as you might also have too much of a good thing?

Be alive, get wet, dry off, be alive!

[Facebook post]

Blessed Rain?

On the cycle ride in today the rain was (just a tad) refreshing.

Yup, it was wet, grey, and not-warm, but other than that, we’re all alive! (those that are that is).
I guess it’s a fine line between seeing the rain as a blessing or a curse.
Some say, “nowt such thing as bad weather just bad preparation.” ?
I dare say farmers, flood victims, and those with leaky roofs, might disagree with that. (I do feel for the flood victims. I wonder if town-planning and traffic infrastructure is part of the cause?) Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing…
But on the whole, we do tend to generally curse the (blessed?) rain.
Yes, we’ve had our fair share of it this summer, but let’s not always curse it.
“Oh it’s a miserable day” I hear. Umm… no, you’re “being miserable” about “the day”!?
Today I rode in; I could have focused on negative observations;
Cold, wet hands, wet feet, cars without lights in the rain, cars with poor condition screen demisters and wipers, the majority of school-kids with nice new blazers and no coats(!) in pouring rain (that’s teens for you I guess), poor visibility, wet leaves on the ground, puddles, spray from cars… no sun…
Or might I focus on positive observations;
Alive, rain-in-your-mouth, invigorating rain-on-head, the freedom of cycling is heightened by the stream of smoking almost-stationary traffic steaming into the city, Deacon Blue (Raintown) in my head, the joy of passing the usual pedestrian suspects, “morning!” with a smile, the toddlers loving their pink umbrellas, the thought of nature needing life-giving water…
Be alive, get wet, dry off, be alive!

…then after a day in an office…
Blessed Rain! Be alive, get wet, dry off, be alive!


Take a chill pill…

Cycling to work is a joy and I can’t recommend it highly enough – however…
The below obviously does not apply to the majority of road users but does apply to a surprisingly significant number. We are all at different stages of life and have differing world-views but I believe we are all human.

Lemming like following… slow down and chill-out.
First observation is the motorist’s urge to get up the backside of the car in front. Traffic seems to flow in bunches of half-a-dozen cars. Yes as a cyclist I also occasionally have to remind myself to “take a chill pill” but that’s usually due to aggravation caused by the danger of mixing with hard, fast, unpredictable hazards. One of the most frequent dangerous observations is a car overtaking me although the car in front of me has barely passed and then the overtaker has to brake hard and slow down. The most infuriatingly dangerous incidents are when a vehicle, again rather than waiting a few seconds, overtakes on a blind-bend, when they cannot see a clear route ahead. Unless I keep my wits about me, sooner or later there will be an incident where an over eager driver will take me out.

Disregard for the rules… limits are not targets.
The rules of the road are “rules”. It seems these days “speed limits” are an annoyance and a quaint part of the british landscape. They are frequently ignored or read as the speed that one should be doing. A 40mph speed limit means “do not exceed 40” not “drive at 40”. Limits are there to help prevent incident and to reduce potential casualty. Most rural and  suburban roads are not built for cars to drive at speed. There is no need to match the speed limit. You will get there if you just chill out a bit and slow down, trust me try it!

Ignorance of common sense… I didn’t think…
OK the jury’s out but, the fact is using a mobile phone, eating a banana, smoking a fag etc are secondary activities and driving requires the driver’s full attention. It’s common sense.
Wait until there’s room to proceed. If you cannot pass a cyclist safely just wait 20-30 seconds and look again. It’s common sense.
Common sense prevails (to most) when you’re walking down the street. You acknowledge passing strangers, you might even pass regards. You don’t run when walking suffices. You don’t barge past or shout at the person in front.

Blaring music… pardon?!
OK it took me awhile to drop the habit but there’s a limit where the loudness of music becomes ignorantly more than needed and rude. Common sense? When the music (and i use that term loosely) in the car becomes music out of the car, then that’s just stupid.

Midlife substitution… shiny happy people…
OK it will always be, but affluenza is an annoying phenomenon. What makes me chuckle is over 60’s in expensive sports-cars, and suede bagged mothers in oversized 4 wheel drive trucks. And of course there’s the single successful’s in their overpriced accessorising audmwcedes. It’s not a crime but it is i fear a symptom of oneupmanship.

Single seater driving… why?
Yes there’s always a place for the automobile. It’s an amazing invention and modern designs are becoming increasingly effective. But is it needed for journey Y & Z as well as X?
There was a time when I would not even entertain the seemingly stupid proposal that I might ride to work just once a week. The thought of it was seriously ridiculous and absolutely not an option. A year hence I found myself cycling to work daily, and having done so for a year.
There are so many people is a similar position to me – driving alone in a car 3-7 miles to work.
Admittedly there are situations where it is just not appropriate and not for everyone. But
I used to drive 7 miles to work, taking 25-30 minutes, costing ~£3 a day in petrol +parking. (£50/month). For my previous journeys, I strapped myself, encapsulated into a ventilated carriage, and gripping the shiny plastic, smelling the fake pine, I was led along by the lemming in front, while taking in the pop-pulp-podcastic wittering opiate of choice(?).
Now I cycle 7 miles to work, it take 30 minutes, it cost me nothing in petrol and parking.
My endorphins are raised, my lungs and muscles are exercised. My spirits are cleansed by fresh air, nature and light. My mind is allowed.
If you drive under 7 miles to work alone in a car there is another cheaper, healthier and more pleasurable choice.

The analogy with smoking… cough!
OK this one’s work-in-progress.
We have come to understand that smoking is an unhealthy decision. It’s debatably costly, bad for you, bad for those around you and stinks. OK it serves a purpose, it takes the edge of life’s ruggedness and it’s a choice. We all employ drugs in varying forms but the habitual use of some drugs are unwise and destructive. The use of nicotine in the form of cigarettes has been recognised as an unhealthy commercially driven crutch that needs limiting and should be considered with caution. Today, many would consider smoking cigarettes unwise yet still many do smoke. Many people ignore the financial cost, the health risks and the antisocial cloud that smoking creates. Many ignore the idea that “smoking kills” both physically and mentally
The Car.
Some have come to ponder driving is an unhealthy decision. It’s debatably costly, bad for you, bad for those around you and stinks. OK it serves a purpose, it takes the edge of life’s ruggedness and it’s a choice. We all drive in varying forms but the habitual use of the car is unwise and destructive. The use of cars has been recognised as an unhealthy commercially driven crutch that needs limiting and should be considered with caution. Today, many would consider the use of the car as unwise yet still many do drive. Many people ignore the financial cost, the health risks and the antisocial cloud that driving creates. Many ignore the idea that “speed kills” both physically and mentally.



I commented on “worship” last October: taking a bath the interaction between things is what make them…

I recently saw someone comment that they “NEED to worship God”, that when they begin to worship “something happens within me… natural selfishness gets kicked out the back door and my heart* opens up to the transforming, powerful, grace-filled-love* of God*.  …it reminds me… that all of the responsibilities and struggles I take on are in his-hands*, and that I can trust him to walk-with-me* and not abandon me, to give me the words and the strength.  …to remember the love-he-has-for-me*, to be open to the work of the Holy-Spirit* and to remind myself that he is that centre. Worship helps me to know that I-am-loved*, and it sets me free to love others, and to see the grace-of-God* at work in the world around me.” 

They commented: “so often in discussions about worship we have a tendency to make worship about us and not about God. …it is important that we don’t forget what it is for and who it is about. In worship God becomes greater and I-become-less*…     I need to worship!”

(I have concerns with some of these * notions)

My admittedly imperfect perspective might be as follows:
I need to worship (to adore, revere, respect, devote, admire, venerate, celebrate?) the thing /notion/sense/power(?) that is bigger than us all”.
When I recognise the reality of otherness and possibilities, it helps to refocus on the bigger picture and review perspectives, attitudes and opinions in a fresh way.
To repeatedly recognise the fabula (story) of ‘life’, and reappraise the sjužet (discourse, perspectives, attitudes, opinions – interaction) can enrich the poor, liven the dead, and can make the blind see.
To review the selfishness that often hinders creativity and open up to the transforming, power of reconsideration.
Life is limited but the clouds move.
This worship reminds me that I am relevant in daily the interaction and it sets me free to let others be.
Worship is about us as part of the fabula and yes, it is important that we don’t forget our place in things.
In worship, life becomes greater and we become more real…        we need to worship!”

(None of this considers the euphoria, endorphins and satisfaction induced by standing and singing etc – that’s another topic.)


Life and Afterlife

Life and Afterlife?

Life Afterlife
Life Afterlife

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

A few ales, and all becomes clear!

It’s been a long while since I had more than a few ales. “Beer money” turns into “morthercare-toysrus-school-etc” money!  You parents know what I mean!

However, last weekend Em & I went out on what turned out to be ‘a jolly’!  Didn’t we have a laugh!  We started in the OT in Loughborough and ended up in the Fox in Syston, somehow…   The girls from the pool will tell you, but then again they probably can’t recall much either! Some good ales and a great night out.

“Oh how silly & childish, tisk tisk”, but oh what fun!  I have no hair to let down but believe me I gave it my best shot. I think…

After almost 6 months of alcohol free living earlier this year, by June I’d rejoined reality(?).  It’s lead me to question our substance intake and I’ve come to NO conclusions whatsoever.  I have taken up caffeine as a regular stimulant and of course enjoy the GP’s recommended inhibitors – happy daze I guess.(?)  Oh and of course “cheese”!
Trying too hard to make sense of a wild-erness we live in can lead one into a place where ideas are unfounded and unfocused, where things fall apart, where structure collapses…  Some joys might be false structures but at least they might be con-cre(a)te.
The resonance between: reality of a happy focused(?) conducted view and the dream of a lost expansive wild(?) view…   hummm.
Always looking for “more” in things. Perhaps my omnipresent chimera can be just as disillusionary(?) as my realities.
As mentioned in “bubbles“, realities are built around us and some struggle to see through them – either way…
Familia… yearning real fellowship, familiarity, friendliness… Maintenance? Feeding? Nurture? Interaction? Pollination?
Perhaps occasionally we disciple-ine ourselves too much, perhaps we lose the fantastical structure that can develop “really” naturally… ?
Have a beer (or 9)!