Like everyone, I could use exercise, but the idea of adding the gym to my schedule has never appealed. So mostly, besides dancing with children, riding my bike is my exercise of choice, often with a practical end (an errand) or an aesthetic one (riding through the park or by the ocean and then sit down with a book).
But this is not easy when traveling. It has been some seven weeks since I’ve ridden a bike. But today I did. And as I got on the bike and headed east on the Carmel Valley Road, I thought, “This feels great! So familiar. It’s almost like–well, like riding a bicycle!”
As I do, I equally enjoyed the uphill, that sense of working to defy gravity’s pull and feel like you’re making an effort that reaps rewards—in this case, cardio-vascular and muscular ones. And then the prize of zooming down the downhills. The two go hand-in-hand—wouldn’t want to spend my whole life trudging uphill, but neither would I choose the free ride where gravity does all the work. Kind of like the relationship between reading and TV.
I noted smoke uncomfortably close over the hills I was approaching and helicopters going into the cloud. Later I found out that this was a control burn to contain the fire by giving it less to burn when it approached that area. There’s a deep metaphor buried in there, but I have homework to correct and no time to uncover it. Work on it yourself.
Meanwhile, I was thinking while biking how darn happy I am. Wake up each day with the mind purring with Level III class plans, the heart thrumming from the pleasure teaching brings, the body awake to the rhythms within about to be brought out for exercise, the soul looking forward to exploring yet another corner of its territory through beautiful and powerful music. Have I mentioned that I love my job? In these weeks, no regular biking or zazen meditation or cooking good meals or going out to the movies, things I normally think I need to feel some measure of contentment. But it is enough to simply teach. Especially in this course that I’ve helped craft to give wings to my vision of this Orff approach. Especially with my fun, funny, smart, vibrant and musical colleagues. And equally my fun, funny, smart, vibrant and musical students. Especially in this beautiful valley, in spite of its smoky mornings.
There was very little transition time between my Sicily vacation and my Jazz Course and very little between the Jazz Course and the Level Training. I wondered if I would remember how to do it. But it turns out that it was easy. It was familiar. It was home.
Like riding a bicycle.