Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I Talk About When I Talk About Biking

I'm just about to finish Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  It's a book about running, yes, but also writing and self-discipline.  He always returns to the point that there are days when you don't feel like doing something but you have to do it because it must become routine or things (muscles, thoughts, etc.) will fall apart if you become lazy with something that ends up making you feel so good after you do it.

Since July 24, I have ridden 874 miles, without counting my daily commute to work or random errands to and from places.  The following passage comes from the first chapter and is one that has really resonated with me.  In the original text Murakami is writing about long-distance running.  I changed any word mentioning run or running with bike or biking and then it became a pretty amazing passage to describe thoughts and feelings that occur while riding for distance:

I'm often asked what I think about as I bike.  Usually the people who ask this have never biked long distances themselves.  I always ponder the question.  What exactly do I think about when I'm biking?  I don't have a clue.

On cold days I think a little about how cold it is.  And about the heat on hot days.  When I'm sad I think a little about sadness.  When I'm happy I think a little about happiness.  As I mentioned before, random memories come to me too......But really as I bike, I don't think much of anything worth mentioning.

I just bike.  I bike in a void.  Or maybe I should put it the other way; I bike in order to acquire a void.  But as you might expect, an occasional thought will slip into this void.  People's minds can't be a complete blank.  Human beings' emotions are not strong or consistent enough to maintain a vacuum.  What I mean is, the kinds of thoughts and ideas that invade my emotions as I bike remain subordinate to that void.  Lacking content, they are just random thoughts that gather around that central void.

The thoughts that occur to me while I'm biking are like clouds in the sky.  Clouds of all different sizes.  They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky as always.  The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky.  The sky both exists and doesn't exist.  It has substance and at the same time doesn't.  And we merely accept that vast expanse and and drink it in.  

No comments: