When you travel, anywhere, you can open yourself to the opportunity for ‘encounter’.
When we travel via car-riage we are to varying extents limiting our exposure to encounter.
When you travel by bike (or indeed walk) regularly, you will find that one of the things that might strike you is your exposure for encounters.
My Instagram captures above don’t portray the people, but it’s the human interactions that are most memorable. From the trio of ladies on their way to work that say hi every morning, and the senior citizen with her two dogs, the people on bikes going the other way, the mechanic who opens his garage at the same time every morning, the man returning from the shop with his paper, the lady who feeds the ducks, the people waiting for the bus, the schoolboy with his rucksack, the rough sleepers under the bridge…
If you consider your ‘approach’ appropriately, often your encounters can be remarkable and delightful. From the natural and the humane, to the juxtaposition of our creations, traditions, and behaviours. Yes, you also encounter the broken, the disturbed, the unfortunate (and ‘misjudgments’ as a professional correspondent recently excused it). But in the main, exposure to ‘life’ can bring growth. Life by its nature brings growth – it’s the lack of life, or broken life, that might cause disruption, disease, and emptiness. As a ‘creative art’ student, one of my favorite quotes was ‘the interaction between things is what makes them fecund’ from Wallace Stevens (referenced by Damian Grant in his book ‘Realism’).
I consider myself fortunate. The times I am shaken by glimpses of wonder, by people, nature, song, life’s riches… far outway the angry disappointed brokenness that also colours our society.
On another not unrelated topic: I have a small part in a play by a local amateur theatre company QT Theatre. It’s a play called ‘Chance Encounters’ written by Jamesine Cundell Walker. One day… One bench… Nine encounters…
QT say “a mixture of comedy, pathos and surprise!” .. a day centred around a park bench … Chance encounters; from a couple meeting to discuss division, to a lady settling herself on the bench for the night.
Easily said, but for some, not so easily put into practice… but, I will say it again; ‘the interaction between things is what makes them fecund’. Here’s hoping.