Mittwoch, 3. April 2013

Much needed ride into the frosty hills, a pensive mood - and quite a loot....;-)

 So, Easter monday came, and nothing to do, and a bit of a depression. Yes, I did not feel too well, but instead of hiding in my attic under a stale-smelling blanket;-) I put on the riding garbs and made a flask of tea and packed some food. The weather was damn cold again (can anyone please call the plumber to repair that gulf stream? Or the heating specialist?*ggg*), but the winter sun of spring was shining brightly, an event that did not happen that often in the last months, and I did some singletrail hammering that did a lot to pin a huge grin on my face, and then made for the bigger hills to take in some scenery.
 On top of the hill it was have a cuppa and some taking in the scenery. The sun was glaring brightly, and I took it in like a sunflower;-). Despite the cold, everywhere were birds fluttering. I met a couple of roe deer, a hedgehog going slowly along across my path, looking at me thoughtfully and the going on on his own business;-), not panicking in the least (I stopped and paused, of course, for I was in no hurry;-)), a buzzard was flying alongside me, and a red kite circling over the ground of a field, not twenty metres away from me. This felt simply great...
 Atop of that hill, it was a bit more humble, however. I sat and drank my tea, when a huge racket going on in the distance alerted me that humans were approaching. They made a right ruckus simply conversing with each other, and, as they came by on the trail some fifteen minutes (!) later, we had a nice chat. They were not even some half-mad ghetto kids, but an elderly couple, nicely dressed. They greeted me and we had a bit of a conversation, about the weather and this and that, and I told them about my encounters with the various animals. I nearly laughed my head off when they wondered why it might be they did not see a single wild animal at all! And then they wondered a bit more why I had a laughing fit and I had to laugh until I choked. Might be they considered me a bit strange afterwards;-) but it was just so comical!

Another couple came around just some few minutes later, middle aged and dressed up well, but more suited for a stroll in the park than an outing into the hills. They greeted me and complained about the state the trails were in... during our little chat it became apparent that they were a bankster couple and were not amused that they payed so much money for taxes and still the woods were not planed with asphalt and concrete. When they were gone, I spared a thought and prayed to every god and goddess I had ever heard of for a dandelion pest in the city and those people never to become so rich and powerful that they could live out their innermost feelings. Other than that, I wished them that they could see what I had just seen, but I guess that´s a wish that could never be granted.
 I had just calmed down drinking my tea, however, when another elderly lady came around. She approached quite silently, and was smiling the whole time. She did not fumble her cellphone, had no hightech walking poles, her walking shoes were well used, and her smock was a bit battered, and she had an ancient walking stick plastered with brass stickers from the places she had been, and piece of vividly coloured cloth tied to the handle I recognized as a bit strange. She too greeted me and we chatted. In fact, she asked me about my wooden cup and if I made it myself. I had to negate that (shame!;-) Have to get that birchwood burr ready I have in the making since three years...;-)), but we had a very great conversation. She told me where she had been and what she had seen that day, and I traded my stories as well, and then we went on talking a good hour or so away and I learned that the brightly coloured piece of cloth was a Tibetan goodluck charm, and she had done her share of hikes in her life. She shared some herblore and trail stories with me and all in all it was a great encounter. We parted as strangers as we met, but it was simply good to meet.

When she had gone, I finished my tea in a pensive mood. There is a good variety of people in the woods, but, for the most part, they should know more what they do. So many people just seem to think they own the woods for good and can behave there like they never would in their own living room. But that´s a misconception, and a grave one at that. But on the other hand it could be so simple. Being silent, enjoying the silence and paying the due respect, like that elderly lady did. She had fun, too, but a different kind of it. Ah, yes, I know, I  came there by mountainbike, and mountainbikers do not have the best of all reputations; and I am no stranger to some hardcore riding myself. And yes, I freely admit, that I have left skid marks on trails that did not deserve it, and built ramps, and the like. But all in all I can say the skid marks came by accident, and it was that or get injured. The ramps I built were in a city wood that was full of special waste and ghetto litter anyway or on a ground devised to the purpose, or I removed them after having my fun. I am no saint, though, but I guess I have been a bit more thoughtful than many. My bike, generally is a means to get places, and I generally follow the DIMB / IMBA trail rules and the common sense of trail etiquette. It pays off, as might be obvious. I just hope more people would learn to love the woods like they deserve it, and out of this love most certainly respect would grow. But people are not taught to love. They are taught to hate, to buy, to fear and to desire. They suffer due to this, so many suffer so much they would not be able to bear it if not for the many ways to distract their minds. They are constantly occupied to keep their minds, and more importantly their hearts and souls from recognizing that there is something thoroughly wrong. They have hundreds of facebook friends, but noone to tend to the wounds of their heart, the scars that we all carry within ourselves. Not all are due to the "evil" in society. In fact we are the ones that make up this society every day. We are all responsible, and we do not need an enemy scheme other than ourselves.

And it is just so simple. We just have to do less, not more. We could do honest work and a job that suits us. We do not need more money than we need. We could enjoy a good meal made by ourselves out of ingredients we trust, not some industrial special waste that consists mainly of chemicals. We could grow part of our food ourselves, and believe me, you can do this even on a balcony. And that´s most important: To enjoy that food actually. Not to make some political statement with it. Really loving the taste, really tasting it in fact. I once made an experiment; I chewed an industrial "system gastronomy" cheeseburger thoroughly. I chewed each bite seventeen times. I nearly threw up. All´s good when you swallow it whole or chew it two or three times. If you really want to taste it, you have a problem. tastes like a mixture of medicinal cough syrup, stale cookies and bad meat. You have to compare it to a real beef burger to find out.

We can even make many things, and enjoy them even more for their shortcomings. We could repair the goods we damaged a bit more and love them for what they are. And if we are in the woods, we could enjoy them as well as for what they are. The woods, plain and simple. And not make some politcal statement of it either, even though that might sound a bit ridiculous in the context, for this is exactly what I am doing with this post. Yes, I know. But I never said I was perfect... I just want to learn to enjoy the woods for what they are, and always more so. I am just hungry for life. Real life, not a parody or some surrogate activity.

When I fell into the mind trap, I contemplated for a long time;-), but then I simply moved my lame butt on to get some real living... and there it was... that old  high plain with a crystal sky above, and apart from the wind, utter silence. Wonderful.
 Besides the trail there was this heap of stones that´s part of a mountainbiker´s ritual. It was Jaykay, a local pioneer of mountainbiking, historian, ornithologist, archaeologist, caveman;-), climber, geocaching pioneer, cruiser rider, bicycle tourist, inventor, engineer, philosopher and much more, that started it, if I am not entirely mistaken... twenty years ago. Each time on a ride we paused there and everyone layed down a stone upon the pile. That´s how it looks now;-).

On I rode, and along the road I came across this loot of spring steel....
More knives and tools to make for free....

I then rode home, content with a ride full of thoughts, and resolves, and purpose, full of encounters, good and bad, with beast and man, and full of real life, that was full with wind and sun and silence and brisk and frisky air.

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