Thursday, April 21, 2016
The Water Proof is in the Pants
Bicycling turns one into an optimist. There's the empowerment of all that mechanical assist, the sense of levitation, of "taking a load off" and letting the wheels do the work. Over years of shifting from car to bike, I've changed my view of all that uncertain weather, located between sunshine and thunderstorm, when it looks like it might rain but hasn't yet. That prospect used to send me looking for the car keys, but much less so now. Like a glass half empty or half full, it might rain on me, or it might not, and my experience is that most of the time the rain doesn't manifest, or remains more of a mist that doesn't affect a bike ride into town at all.
Still, there've been a couple times, venturing out on a bike in a light rain, when the rain turned heavy, and my legs got soaked--the thighs being the one horizontal feature while pedaling, and therefore the most exposed to the rain. Amazingly, the pants dry off in an hour--a small and fleeting discomfort. Rain is just water, after all. But when the Blue Ridge outfitters store was going out of business, I finally bought the proof. The water proof. Pants, that is. They slip on before heading out, and one gets this uncanny feeling of being immersed in rain and yet remaining unaffected. It's the closest I might get to being a dolphin, or a duck.
People talk about sustainability. This, for me, is how it happens. Small insights that probably should have been obvious years ago, and yet they come when they come, and accumulate until one's life is considerably changed. Oftentimes, sustainability is experienced not as a closing down or limitation, but as an opening up, of possibility and awareness, a way of looking more to oneself and nature, and less to machines, for answers to the day's questions.
Posted by Stephen Hiltner