Three Things from Edmonton: spuds, squirrels, steel
|Potatoes on their way|
|Michael with barrel of potatoes|
|Squirrel in the infrastructure|
In our back lane there’s a squirrel that runs along the telephone wires. If the wires were lines on a staff of music, the squirrel is a runaway F note. And then suddenly a full stop. Or it’s a punctuation squirrel, its tail a question mark, and now an exclamation mark. The squirrel goes back and forth like this, along the line, over the little metal boxes and cat’s cradle of wires up there. Is all this twitchy activity work for him, or is it a bit fun, too? Probably a sound evolutionary move, at least. There’s no food up there, but no cats or dogs or cars or trucks, either. That squirrel ran back through my memory on Tuesday as I pedalled home along 102nd Avenue and across the bridge over Groat Road. The bridge has a retaining wall that separates the sidewalk from the bicycle lane. A woman carrying a red shopping bag was walking on the concrete wall. She was steady, she had good balance, one foot in front of the other, eyes ahead. She had done this before, somewhere long ago. Was she up there for a better view? A better view of the past? Or just for a bit of a lark, trying in her way to be free?
|Kevin at Redbike|
Thursday was World Bicycle Day. I took my Miyata out for a spin and remembered Kevin’s answer when I asked him last week why that bike feels like nothing else. It’s so smooth around corners. It was more of a statement than a question, but Kevin, who’s one of the philosopher-mechanics at Redbike, had an answer. It’s the frame, he said factly-of-matter. The high quality steel tubing, he said. Huh, I said. The freedom and joy so reliably delivered by the bicycle comes from...steel. And from other stuff, including cables, rubber tires and tubes, the chain, spokes, a derailleur, aluminum rims, leather seat—all the apparatus we learn as children to attach to our own frames to become more than we could ever be without them. It’s really no wonder you never forget how to ride a bike. What we learn on that happy day is not independence, but dependence, dependence on matter to get us into the world of spirit for as long as human body and artificial machine stay balanced. That’s unforgettable.