|Albert Bierstadt - Public Domain|
View from the Saddle – Nature & Why I believe in the bicycle - by John Z.
I will throw it out there right off, I am a Tree Hugger, an imperfect Tree Hugger, but an improving Tree Hugger. To go, maybe, a little to deeply for here, it has been an evolution for me, a journey, maybe a journey that can only come with age. For many years I have studied all forms of religion and spirituality, the only place I have found spiritual peace is in nature.
I am a person who needs to see to believe, I have not being able to subscribe to the idea that "you will see it when you believe it." I “see” God, the Tao, the Great Spirit, Universal Consciousness and all the others in nature. I see it in what puts life into a seed, I see it in the rotation of the planets causing leaves to fall from a tree, I see it in salmon making the journey up stream to spawn knowing they will die at the end of the journey. I see it in a member of our family, our dog when she knows my children are sick and will not leave there sides until they are better. I see it everywhere in nature.
My faith has been put to great tests in 2012. I have questioned beliefs, wondered why, looked for purpose and searched deep in my own spirit. In a real seance, I have lost my spirit, but nature and the universe has a funny way of reminding us that our spirit is never lost if we keep our eyes open and trust that the dots in life will connect themselves.
Recently I came across a quote that I wrote in a journal many years ago, I must have read and pondered this quote hundreds of time in my life. The words are spoken by Buddha, "If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change." That alone did not give me the peace that I had lost, but later that day, riding my trusty old bicycle to class, nature kicked me in the head.
I was riding through a Lake County Forest Preserve where the parks department had recently performed a controlled burn of the prairie grasses. For no particular reason I had the urge to stop and look around, in doing so I came across the tiniest seed sprout, right there in the recently burned prairie in the middle of December. Everything that I had believed came rushing back in an electric wave, I saw the miracle in nature again.
My spirit needs nature, I am an imperfect Tree Hugger.
I am an imperfect Tree Hugger because I still need to live in society. I need to drive a car when it is to far to ride a bike, I need to drive a car when it is unsafe to reach a destination by bicycle, I need to drive a car when it is to cold for my kids to ride. I strive to keep the car parked as much as possible, but as off now it is a necessary evil, especially in the suburbs.
I am an imperfect Tree Hugger as I need to heat my house in the winter with natural gas, I need to use lights powered by a coal fired power plant, I need to buy thousand mile vegetables when I can not grow enough from the garden.
I am an imperfect Tree Hugger, but I am an evolving Tree Hugger. I strive to change my life daily in an attempt to protect more and more of the nature I need.
I believe in the bicycle, I believe in practical bicycles, I believe in what the bicycle can do for the world, I believe in nature. I believe that everyone has there own views and can live anyway they choose, I believe that the only way to change the world is to live the change you want to see in your own life. I will continue to bring old bicycles back to life, it is my small purpose, I will be at peace with nature and continue to be more content in that peace.