Monday, March 19, 2012

The Crazy Ones

I had planned all day long to do today’s shopping by bicycle. But by the time I was ready to shove off, clouds had gathered in the gray skies—clouds that could easily let go a rain shower or two.

The thermometer read 55° F. I began to rethink my idea of riding my bike to Andy’s, the grocery north of town. I could drive my car instead.

My Subaru sat unused in the garage. Even this short trip would spew a lot more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than bicycling. 

I thought of my adult children both of whom are, by choice, car free. I’m on spring break; I have plenty of time to ride. Rain or no rain, the exercise would do me good. And it would do me good to know that today I made a small effort to shrink my carbon footprint.

I zipped on a jacket, rolled my Riv out of the garage, and pedaled to market. As I approached the bike rack, I saw two other cyclists loading their bike bags with groceries. Seeing them pleased me.

Perhaps they saw the pleasure in my face, for they were both friendly. We cyclists stick together. We had a conversation about shopping bikes and the pleasures of riding. We three were surrounded by perhaps a hundred shoppers who had arrived by automobile. None of the car drivers seemed to take pleasure in each other's company.

“It’s so cold,” said one of my new friends. “We must be crazy to ride our bikes.”

I didn’t feel crazy to have chosen my bike, especially in light of what scientists say about climate change. On the contrary, I usually feel, if not crazy, then at least in active denial of reality when I get behind the wheel of my car and twist the key in the ignition. I felt sane, actually, and happy to be among new friends.

“Well, maybe we're crazy,” I replied. “But maybe the crazy ones are the people who drive their cars.”

My new friend smiled, “You may be right. Maybe they’re the crazy ones.“

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Most Astounding Fact

It is interconnectedness week here at Mindful Heart. It's the theme of the reading we're doing in our study group tonight, it was the theme of yesterday's post about seeing the earth at night from space, and it's a part of the message in this astonishing video that features comments of physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Just as the Joni Mitchell song said back in the day, "We are Stardust."


Flying Over Earth at Night

View the Earth as seen at night from the near-earth orbiting space craft, Sky Lab. This is a time-lapsed video compilation, so it's speeded up from what you would see if you were up there looking out the window.

The flashes of light at the end of each segment is the arrival of dawn which happens every hour and a half up there. Look sharply at 1:08. Yep, that's the boot of Italy as you fly down towards Israel and Cairo.

Look at this image. Do you see Italy? You're looking south at Italy from somewhere over the French/German border.

We live on a small and fragile planet. We are interconnected. It's obvious from space.

I wish we humans could release of all our nationalistic tendencies, zero out our military budgets, and get down to the business of taking care of our precious little lifeboat in space.

It is long past time that we do.

Flying Over the Earth at Night 
Video Credit: Gateway to Astronaut PhotographyNASA ; Compilation: Bitmeizer (YouTube); 
Music: Freedom Fighters (Two Steps from Hell)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tea on Tomales Bay

Yesterday's paddle on Tomales Bay was as pleasant as it could possibly be. I got an early start and paddled near shore. 

I had no human companions on this trip, but abundant animal life surrounded me for the whole trip. Solitary paddling offers sublime serenity.

I passed over and startled many bat rays and leopard sharks who seemed to be basking in the clear shallow waters along the eastern shore of the bay.

I could see the bottom most of the way

Inside a lagoon bounded by a railroad bed.

pulled up at Millerton Beach
Second flush organic darjeeling tea

enjoyed leisurely, a sip at a time

Johnson's Oyster farm

Great flock of coots
Friend Paul's yacht, Lion near Tony's Seafood