Sunday, April 3, 2016

We are Whole in Our Brokenness

Clicky pedal. Even the focus is slightly off

Set out on the Sunday morning canal run, and remembered that I had meant to grease the pedals since one of them was making a clicking sound. Went back, greased them up, set out again, clicking sound gone!

Lately, I've been immersing myself in minimalism, tidying, tiny houses, #vanlife, and zero waste books and videos. For example, these incredible Canadians, Exploring Alternatives, and this incredible person trying to live with zero, waste, A Dream Lived Greener. I've read both Marie Kondo books, and can't recommend them highly enough, if you have too much stuff, and you just might. 

I've donated a ton of stuff, and considering how much of that stuff was books, a ton might be fairly accurate. My desk is refreshing in how clear and simple it has become. My drawers actually make me smile when I open them. Space, and order, is good. But I still have a long way to go. I realized that in spite of my tidying and de-junking, I still have the most cubic feet of stuff of any of the occupants of our house. So, onwards.

Part of the spirit of this thing, whatever it is, and wherever it may lead, is maintaining the stuff I do have in good condition, so that it remains useful and capable of sparking joy, as Marie K says. That includes bike stuff. It also means trying not to waste things, trying to use things up before discarding them, and so on. So, I was happy this morning with the small thing of using up the last of my bike grease on the pedals. 

Empty grease tube is a happy grease tube

Pedaling out on a gorgeous Spring morning on a silent bicycle is a pleasure in itself. Unfortunately, about 30% of the way through the ride, the pedal began quietly clicking again, which means that fresh grease is not enough, and I will have to rebuild it. Which is okay, since I have parts, and even a spare set of rebuilt pedals standing by, so no biggy. But, it did remind me that things wear out eventually. Parts break and wear. That goes for human parts, too, of course, and if you get right down to it, is the eventual fate of everything and everyone. Whole, smooth, quiet, fast, clean functioning is not the normal ground state in our entropic universe. Eventually, dust to dust, and all that.

These themes converged in this bicycle

These themes converged in this bicycle: minimalism, brokenness, life on the road, reducing to the bare minimum, existence at or within the edges. Kind of summed it all for me in one quick, hard hit.

In the end

In the end, at the spot along the canal where I sprint to challenge my heart and remember how many of my male ancestors passed away by heart attack, I saw these lovely creatures paddling behind mama in the canal. A scene of consummate beauty, to be sure, but also one of brokenness and concern for me. Because I know that within two weeks, the little ones will be gone. I don't know where they go. I don't know if predators take them, or canal boffins manage them, or if people take them early in the morning to raise them, I don't know. But I do know from experience that within two weeks, they'll be gone. That's OK, it's the way of the canal. In this morning, on this ride, at this moment, I loved to see them. As me and my clicky pedal rode past them as hard as I could, I had the passing strong and deep feeling, that I am whole with them in our shared brokenness.


  1. Nice thoughts. I'm also trying to own fewer things, and, hopefully, lessen the stress that seems to go with them.

    1. The space, and time, that unloading stuff creates is something you have to experience to appreciate, I think. Marie Kondo opened my eyes to that.


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