Monday, August 25, 2008

the front porch

I like to count while I'm riding. not revolutions, or by fives, or just to keep my brain busy.
I like to count things. or people. most often I count other cyclists: how many coming down the hill, how many who pass me, how many I pass (which is always a very small, manageable number), and then how many coming up the hill while I'm headed down.
I also count joggers, and am surprised on mornings when the runners outnumber the cyclists.
one morning I kept track of how many cyclists were (a) friendly, (b) unfriendly, and (c) neutral. how does one get placed in the neutral category, you ask? "neutral" is for those who don't acknowledge me but could possibly be (appropriately) focused on their descent and unable (quite correctly) to indicate that they have noticed my existence.

this seems to be an issue for me, doesn't it, this acknowledgment of each other? for some reason this is quite important to me. I feel strongly that we are all here on earth to find a way to work together toward peace and harmony. (can you hear the music playing in the background? I'm hearing the "I'd love to teach the world to sing" song, complete with a visual of girls in peasant dresses, wearing headbands on their foreheads.) I don't believe that the "me first" attitude benefits anyone in the long run. and perhaps this is why I don't like to be snubbed. I do believe we are all connected, in some way, and that what I give is what I receive.

back to counting.

this morning I was counting chairs. chairs on front lawns, chairs on porches, chairs on verandas. well, the latter was in my imagination, as I didn't ride past a single house with a veranda this morning. I got into trouble, though, when confronted with gliders and double-chairs: should I count them as one each, or should I count each place for a bottom as one? actually, by the time I rode past a handful of gliders I had given up on keeping count.

there is something terribly romantic to me about chairs on porches. one house I passed had five chairs, all in a line between the front door and their driveway, facing the road. do they really come out and sit on them? five people, all facing straight ahead? do they move the chairs around so that they face each other as they sit and talk? I will have to make up a story, as I will never know.

but I love the idea of people sitting, relaxing, on their porches. that at the end of the day, or perhaps at the beginning of the day, they sit and look out upon their world. that they drink in the sky, the air, the peacefulness of the start and ending of days. that they wave hello to people passing by. that they smile, make eye contact, and acknowledge the existence of those people they see.

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