My bicycles hang from the ceiling, artifacts of an era now ending. With passing time, I feel more vulnerable. Or is it just a greater awareness of how vulnerable I always have been? I am no longer willing to risk riding the roads—even those lightly traveled. No longer willing to ignore the threats: pickup trucks that see how close they can come just for sport, close enough that I can feel their engine heat; blind curves that were always chancy, but are now made dangerous by drivers more interested in their phones than in watching the road. I look at the routes I traveled alone and wonder, “Am I feeling more vulnerable, or do I just see that my moments are not infinite and so am now unwilling to risk those precious remaining few?”
I am nostalgic, though. I miss the speed, the ability to propel myself under my own steam. The childlike sense of glee and freedom. But as a child, time is deeply hidden. Now it has become a god, an integral part of life, a clock ticking audibly in the background, against which all things are measured.
I miss the sense of invulnerability, of limitlessness. No its more than that. A sense of invulnerability acknowledges vulnerability; limitlessness, the possibility of limits. I miss the obliviousness of youth. The complete lack of awareness of danger, of limits, of time passing.
But still, there is deep beauty in these autumnal moments of life. There is a freedom from striving, from competing. Moments are now measured against the ticking clock, but Self is more free from measurement. I am now free to detach from the competition and to relish moments of peace and tranquility.
The cycles turn, and with each turn, some freedoms are hung from the rafters. New freedoms are gained. But it is always a ride. There is something new to see over each hill and around each turn. I can cherish the memories, and maybe even feel nostalgia. But I will stay present to the journey, with eyes open to the new experiences seen with older eyes.