|Experiencing the daily evening 'migration' of crows eastward by bike|
But then again, when was the last time you actually wrote something? I mean with a pen & paper? The words I'm typing right now are not quite real--they live online, but aren't really concrete, they're just pixels of light that can disappear in seconds when you click a button. Or maybe you're not even clicking a button, but tapping or swiping a touch screen. Touch screens take it even further, removing the tactile feedback of a clicking button on a keyboard or mouse.
With so many aspects of our lives, we don't have to make any physical effort at all to make amazing things happen. We take elevators & escalators to go up. We sit in cars & drive thousands of kilometres. We throw things into machines & take out laundered clothes, bread, clean dishes, whipped cream. Even our toothbrushes are mechanized. Labour-saving devices are taken for granted in our lives here in North America especially.
It's not just about what we think of as technology or machines, either. Things like our homes & our cars keep us disconnected from the world--walls, doors, windows & roof, insulation & rainscreening, all designed to keep the weather & other people away from us. Now I'm not saying I want to live like a cave man or anything, but sometimes I feel like modern Western life just seems about distancing ourselves from as many things as possible.
This is part of why I love riding a bike instead of taking transit or driving. Cycling forces you to really experience the world around you. You can smell the ocean or the bakery or the flowers that you ride past. You feel the sun or rain or snow or wind on your face. You can hear birdsong or the conversations of people on the street or music from the houses you pass. You can easily have conversations with other riders at stop lights or when riding together. Then there's the physical effort of propelling yourself; feeling your muscles bunch as you push up a hill, leaning into turns.
For the minutes that you are riding, you are real, you are alive, you are connected.
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