Friday, November 13, 2009

symphonies and silence

this morning:
alarm at 5:19 am.
out of bed at 5:22.
into bike shorts, top, heart monitor and socks by 5:27.
ipod out of charger and strapped on bicep by 5:29.
water bottle, bag with towel and shoes, car keys, license, phone: out the door by 5:33.
spin class season is officially here.

indoor workouts are the only time I use my ipod, and each fall I am once again grateful for that tiny little computerized music system.
there is something both soothing and exhilarating about having your own private stereo connected to your ears. you can be in your own world, having your own internal experience, and no one need know it or be bothered by it: what a gift our ipods give us.

what I lose, however, is my outdoor riding silence.
I know many cyclists (and joggers, runners, walkers) use their ipods while riding (jogging, running, walking) outside, but it doesn't work for me at this point. maybe someday. but for now, I love my ability to hear the universe speak to me, whether it's through nature's sounds, human voices, or mechanical beasts. I want to hear the wind and feral cats and scampering chipmunks. I want to hear crickets and barking dogs and my own heavy breathing.
and even more importantly, I need the opportunity to disappear within my own mind. it's challenging enough to do this in silence; given music, I will sing along and change the lyrics and think entirely too much about the first/last/best time I heard each song.
disappearing in my mind, that meditating thing, is a crucial part of my riding.
a friend reminded me of this today, of how my cycling sessions enable me to turn the thinking off for great chunks of time, chunks that I sometimes don't even realize I've had.
this is a gift.
I do not meditate well, sitting on my couch.
but sitting on that saddle, working at the point I can no longer keep and hold threads of thought, allows a certain slipping of consciousness that qualifies, at least in my book, as meditation.
and meditation allows a reordering of our internal selves that leads to peace and harmony.

as in everything, I'm once again confronted with trade-offs. I can have my own private symphony, or I can claim my silent chunks of meditation.
the best thing of all is that I have the desire and the time in my life for both.

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