This week, in between the bursts of falls favored sunshine, there have been fits of rain, and even violent hail. Yesterday after a beautiful morning of sunshine, the girls and I happened to be under that dark luminous cloud on our way home from school. The last two miles I could do nothing more than laugh at it's relentlessness. I had truly never felt anything like it. The hail was rebounding off the bike canopy, into my face, and even down my throat. All drama aside, I actually started choking. Stopping was not an option as soon as I realized this was not going to let up. I just kept pedaling, and then laughing and screaming and laughing some more. Not just any scream or laugh, but the kind that sounds and smells like freedom. I felt five and alive. A bicycle and the elements, especially a bicycle in the elements might just be the preservation of youth.
I think I love our lifestyle most when under these sort of circumstances. I love when I have no choice but to just surrender, and so I do. Often this means laughing or singing when it's raining or when my legs are cramping. On 28th there is a crossfit studio and a sign that says, "OH MY QUAD." I reach this sign around 3/4 of my commute and I smile ear to ear every single time. Yeah, my quad, I feel it. It's there and I am alive. I've never been afraid to feel, and maybe this is why I require a lot of intense physical activity in order to feel human. My physical body must deeply relate to the emotional.
The other day my dad met the girls and I for pizza. He was asking about my commute to Octave's school and kept talking about how it wasn't really a practical use of my time. It takes 35 minutes each way, and I give myself 40. I make that trip 4 times a day. So it takes up 2 hours and twenty minutes. I completely agree, it isn't the most practical. I often wish I had more time to spend with Bijou at home or at a park. But that's understandable and obvious. What's interesting is that my sister and our friends take their kids to school and extra activities everyday and probably drive that same amount, if not more. But everyone thinks car commuting long distances and dealing with traffic is completely normal, while getting exercise and sometimes getting wet, is not. His first comment was something like, "so are you thinking it's probably time you guys get a car?" And I said, " no, I just think we we will eventually move closer to her school." My dad has always been a huge supporter of me and all my endeavors so I don't say this to insinuate any judgement or discouragement from him, because it's not there and I don't feel any. I only say it because it brings light to how interesting our cultural perspective is. Also, I just keep thinking how inconvenience is nothing more than perspective, and maybe something that takes a little more effort does not take more than it gives.
Last week we rode back home from a Kindergarten potluck in Laurelhurst Park. The sun went down, the street lamps came on, the air started to cool, but we hardly noticed because our movement kept us warm, and all four of us were buzzing with enthusiasm. We passed cars playing every type of music, smelled cigarettes and car exhaust. We saw twinkly lights in backyard bungalows, restaurants filled with lovers and dreamers, and misfits yelling obscenities on sidewalks. We got closer to home and the energy and life refused to cease. It felt like falling in love, and it was. I am falling madly in love with my life, and our city. Our life, this city. The intentional, slow, messy, good life. It's official, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not even a looming job opportunity boasting three times the amount of money just inches from our fingertips. I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying right here to revel in the beautiful life we've so patiently and humbly made.