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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Sort of Happiness

As soon as my office hours ended today, I gathered up my belongings and headed out. Not quite ready to turn the bike towards home, I instead went to a coffee shop just a couple blocks beyond the trail to sit and read while enjoying a caramel mocha latte. While waiting for the latte, I decided to add a piece of coffee cake to the mix. Taking both to a table outside, I kicked back, opened the Kindle to A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, and relaxed for a bit. I started this book nearly a year ago. Now almost finished with it, a section I read today spoke to me. Hemingway describes how some people find it difficult to live outside accepted standards. These people were constantly badgering him to conform by wearing certain clothes, having a certain hairstyle, etc. Hemingway says, "They knew nothing of our pleasures nor how much fun it was to be damned to ourselves and never would know nor could know." A bit later, he says, "That is the sort of happiness you should not tinker with but nearly everyone you knew tried to adjust it." I feel this happiness while on a bike, riding along and listening to the whir of the tires, feeling the air against my face. I feel this happiness when reaching the top of a hill and shifting to a lower gear, gaining speed, then coasting down the other side. I feel this happiness when in the drops, my arms and shoulders settling into a comfortable exertion while the legs find their rhythm. Because most of my friends and family don't cycle, they don't know these pleasures, and unfortunately, most likely never will.

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