My brother and I loaded up the mountain bikes on the Mini Cooper yesterday and headed out for Waterton Canyon. In the last five to 10 years I have mostly done road bike riding and commuting by bike. So I’m used to the bikes with skinny tires and drop handlebars. And I must say I do like the thrill of flying on a road bike! I haven’t mountain biked for many years. When I was a kid I had the banana seat styled bike which I loved. Then when I was old enough my parents got me a mountain bike. I rode that thing everywhere. Took it to school with me in Toronto (it looked so beat up that no one would steal it in the city). Then took it to Washington, DC and then to Detroit when I entered novitiate. It was bomb proof steel beauty. Then I fell in love with road bikes. Well, now I must say I have rekindled my love of mountain bikes. My brother took me on a fabulous singletrack. It was great fun to reacquaint myself with that kind of bike and that kind of riding.
When riding singletrack it feels like you become part of your surroundings, sensitive to every rock, tree root, bunny, and variation in the earth’s surface. There is a respect that builds between the rider and the flora and fauna around me. Whereas being 34,000 feet above the earth gives an awesome “big picture” perspective of the earth (see my last post, A Nun on a Plane), being in the middle of a forest at the edge of the foothills is equally extraordinary because you see the individual creatures that make up our earth. And each creature — be it a magnificent tree whose leaves are just about to turn or a white tailed bunny hopping across the path or a guy on a cyclocross bike sliding through the sandy part of the trail — is a world unto itself as well. One of my theology professors once talked about how the image of God is built into all things — all things! She put her hands on a wooden chair and said, “In this piece of wood is the image of God.” I never forgot that. It’s like those scripture passages that talk about how the hills and the rocks proclaim the glory of God. So that’s my epiphany for this morning. What will today hold?