simplicitee

Reading, thinking, biking, sharing…

Spring? January 12, 2009

Filed under: happiness,mountain biking — onarete @ 4:50 pm

az-sky

Photo credit

It was a weekend for exploration on the bike, some successful, some less so, but all fun.   We rode new (to us) trails and logged some big hours.  The weather right now is idyllic-70, sunny, blue skies.  This is my favorite time of the year in Arizona, and I am doing my best to soak it all up and store it away.  Little sprouts of grass have emerged in the desert, returning for a while to this harsh place.  These days remind me of the first nice days of the year in Idaho.  In April or May, there will be a day or two where the sun comes out and the air smells fresh and you can open the windows at last.  If it is a Saturday or a Sunday, you do yard work and ride your bike and try to stay outside as long as daylight allows.  Its only January here, but I am reminded of these happy memories and my soul fills full.  Its funny how happiness comes from somewhere deep within, memories created years ago.  On Monday or Tuesday nights now, I will ride home at dusk and for once, I’m not the only one outside.  Older couples walk hand in hand, and children play in the streets.   I wonder if they have those memories of spring as well.

 

Worth a thousand words October 6, 2008

Filed under: adventure,arizona,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 3:10 pm

I will write up a report on TOWM soon, but first I want to share some pictures from the last several weekends of biking.

This is a picture of the McDowell’s on a hot summer morning.

 

Sweaty but still smiling.

 

 BB at a beautiful lookout in Prescott before we started descending.

 

Lovely little pool that we ran into late in the afternoon.  I stopped for a snack.

 

 

Going through a tunnel blasted through the rock.  This was in Flagstaff. 

 

Riding through the aspens; moments of joy.

 

Flagstaff September 23, 2008

Filed under: arizona,Camping,Flagstaff,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 8:11 pm

Photo Credit

We escaped to Flagstaff for the weekend.  These little trips become so easy when you do lots of them, things are organized, you know exactly what you need for 2 days camping and biking.  Flagstaff was cold and windy when we arrived early Saturday morning.  It felt like fall!  We set up camp quickly and headed out on the bikes.  

What a ride.  We rode singletrack for 5 1/2 hours, sweeping through all kinds of scenery: meadows, aspen forest, pine trees, red rock.  I was so giddy, I was flying.  After 2 1/2 hours, Blair finally made me stop to eat something.  I didn’t even feel like I was working.  “This is mountain biking,” Blair said.

Sunday we rode from camp, climbing several miles before we started “the climb.”  We rode waterline road to Abineau Canyon.  The road is surrounded by Wilderness area and offers spectacular views.  Every time I went around a corner my heart jumped in awe.  Right before the cabins, the road winded through the most amazing forest of aspens.  I had never seen anything like it!  Fat aspens as far as the eye could see.  (I will post some pictures once I get them uploaded).  After the cabins, the road became more primitive.  There were areas where the whole road was covered by rock slides.  The wind also picked up and was blowing me around like crazy.  Just as my legs were starting to give in, we made it to the end of the road, Abineau canyon.  This was at 10,500′.  I think that is a record on my mountain bike.   From there, we were able to see the Grand Canyon!  What a view!

From there, we had close to 20 miles of downhill.  Both Blair and I were riding slow to enjoy the scenery and also to keep from getting too cold (we were freezing by the bottom).  This was a fabulous ride.  Lots of climbing, but never too steep and jaw-dropping beautiful.

I feel so blessed to have a weekend like that.  In so many ways I am blessed.

 

Wilderness therapy September 11, 2008

Filed under: God,happiness,love,Nature — onarete @ 4:21 pm

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.  -Mother Theresa  (Picture credit)

I am a life-long worrier.  I have  been busy worrying since I was a little kid.  Sometimes, I worry about important things.  Am I headed down the right career path?  Am I saving enough money?  Is our government protecting the less-fortunate, the environment, and our civil rights? 

But more often than not, I am worrying about really stupid, unimportant stuff.  Did I lock the back door?  Why is my bike making that creaking noise?  Am I going to make it to work on time?  I drive myself crazy, and I am pretty sure I make the people around me crazy also.

The last couple of weekends I have gotten to escape to the wild.  Well not exactly the wild, but I’ve gotten to escape to nature.  And the same thing happened that always happens when I get outside: I quit worrying.  My mind goes quiet and my body literally fills with joy.  My soul is filled with wonder and amazement, love and happiness, peace and spirit.  I’m not the person who goes to work, exercises each night, makes phone calls, runs errand, tries to stay connected to family and friends.  I just am.  And I am well.

Being in nature is our primal condition.  Animals, trees, water, mountains, deserts: these are all a part of who we are as humans.  And yet so much of our modern life is spent separated from it all.  An article in the Oxford University Press suggests the same:

Humans have spent many thousands of years adapting to natural environments, yet have only inhabited urban ones for relatively few generations.  Whilst modern ‘westernization’ has doubled our life expectancy, it has also created disparities between ancient and present ways of living that may have paved the way for the emergence of new serious diseases.  ‘As more people survive to older age, and as patterns of living, consuming and environmental exposures change, so non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer have come to dominate.’ Further, mental, behavioural and social health problems are seen to be an increasing health burden in all parts of the world.

According to the World Bank and the World Health Organization, mental health disorders currently constitute 10% of the global burden of disease. In Australia, depression costs the economy AUD$3.3 billion in lost productivity each year. Estimates suggest by the year 2020 mental health disorders will rise to 15% of the global burden of disease and depression alone will constitute one of the largest health problems worldwide…The evidence invites us to ‘look outside’ for solutions to this global contemporary health epidemic.

Clearly, our health, mental and physical, is effected by our environment.  I would also argue that our spiritual health is affected.  For me at least God is nature, they are one in the same.  Which makes sense.  Our connection to nature is primal; our connection to God is primal.  A sense of our true self can only be found outside the city limits.

For me at least.

 

Happy Birthday to my Mom August 19, 2008

Filed under: family,happiness,love — onarete @ 5:17 pm

 

Today is my mom’s birthday.  She was the first love I ever knew; I loved her before my own birthday.  Everything warm and cuddly and safe is my Mom, even now.  She is the only person in my life who’s approval I’ve never had to work for or who’s love has felt unconditional.  My mom has never made me feel disappointed or embarrassed or insubstantial.  Every good moment in my life and every success has been possible because I knew she was the safety net beneath me.  She loves my sister and I so much; she is an inspiration to all to love like her.

My mom stayed home with us growing up.  Now as an adult, I realize what a huge sacrifice that was.  She was always, always there.  She did crafts, and threw birthday parties, and poured warm water into the kiddie pool.  She made me macaroni-and-cheese, and took me to ballet, and prayed with me at night.  She held my hand, and made Halloween costumes, and listened to me read while she cooked dinner. 

She’s still the best mom–a great friend, caregiver, and role model.  I miss her every single day and always feel like life is gonna be alright when I see her again.  Mom, I love you so so so much.  I hope you have a great birthday and know you are loved.

 

Desert storm August 15, 2008

Filed under: arizona,desert,happiness,Nature,road biking,Uncategorized — onarete @ 6:17 pm

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I suprised myself yesterday when I went for a road ride and realized that it had been over 3 weeks!  Part of this is that it has been just too hot to hang out on the blacktop in the 105+ degree heat.  It is much easier to wait until the sun goes down and ride dirt.  As I left work though, it was a cool 97 degrees, so I jumped at the opportunity.  It was hot and sunny but not overwhelmingly so.

I did the Home -> Bush Highway -> Usery Pass -> Home loop.  Once I passed the Walgreens, not a soul was out.  Even the traffic was abnormally light.  It was just me and the desert, and I was flying.  Every so often I would look around and be hit by another wave of awe at the beauty of the mountains and the river and the saguaro cactus saluting as I went by.

As I approached the turnoff for Usery Pass, the sky was turning ominous.  Half way up the climb, dirt and sand started blowing across the road (and yes, at one point, a tumbleweed).  At the top, it had gone from a sunny day to black, lightening, and windy.  On the descent, the wind gusts were threatening to knock me over.  As hard as I tried, I couldnt keep my front wheel in a straight line.  Every time I nearly crashed and kept it together, I felt a surge of adrenaline cursing through my body.  Wild and smiling, I turned toward home, the wind to my back, spinning furiously to outrun the storm.  I was flying.

I pulled into the apartment complex just as the storm instensified and the sky went totally dark.  Blair had dinner on the stove.  I was salty and windblown.  Inside, it was safe.  I was totally, totally happy.

 

The God of Small Things August 11, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,happiness,life,love,summer — onarete @ 6:00 pm

Even small things can delight us,
Even small things can be precious.

 

My Weekend:

1.  Riding my bike. 

2.  Eating mexican food.

3.  Spending time with Blair.

4.  Watching the Olympics.

5.  Swimming in the pool.

6.  Reading bike magazines.

7.  Sleeping in.

8.  Taking naps.

9.  Eating potatoes.

10.  Talking to my sister on the phone.

11. Watching TV at the gym.

12.  Laughing.

13.  Loree’s birthday party.