I crashed my bike the other day. Maybe at nearly sixty it’s time to stop jumping curbs at high speed. I scraped my leg up a bit, washed it at Mcdonald’s then rode over to Target and bought some hydrogen peroxide and poured a couple doses over the cuts. The feeling one gets when they pour the hydrogen peroxide into an open cut is a tax. My family calls it stupid-tax, the price we pay for doing something dumb. Still after the taxes were paid, my friend and I rode forty miles at the lovely Indiana Dunes Park.
We started at the Calumet trail, and rode through mud and puddles and ruts until we could cut toward the lake.
As my wheel spun and surfed I tensed, grasped the bars tightly and nearly caused additional crashes. I had lost faith in my balance. It made me tense, reluctant to savor the moment for whatever good or ill it might bring. I think that when we lose our faith in our balance, we begin to shrink. We don’t dare much, and our world becomes confined to a smaller and smaller environment we trust. On my bicycle I was doing it, shrinking my enjoyment of the moment.
Emotionally we can lose our balance. The world becomes a fearful place where trust is foreign. We shape ourselves by fear and slowly, slowly disappear into a safe but empty place.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can crash and still ride on. We can strengthen our balance and trust it. New roads lead to surprises, even on a bicycle.