Friday, May 06, 2005

mindfulness on a vélo

It is the jour de la bicyclette in Bedoin (or should I say 'vélo'? much more sporty). The route du Mont Ventoux is closed and lots of taut men in lycra are purring or puffing (depending on their level of fitness) up it against the fierce Mistral.

As a special treat, I dressed up in my best mistral gear (sweat-pants to keep the goosebumps away, a light floral skirt to play in the wind, a sleeveless T-shirt for sun-tanning and a fleece to melt the ice) and took my vélo out for a spring potter. Using a trip to the post office to send off a mountain of Postcards From Provence as a feeble excuse, we meandered around about a tenth of the way up along meadow-starred paths, watching poppies nod their luminous approval like the crowds lining the route of the Tour de France, new cherries - lime beads just ready to blush and fatten - bob on the leafy trees, and cloud-lozenges appear in the azure blue. While the cyclists were all patting themselves on their sweaty backs in self- congratulation about reaching the summit (men!) my vélo and I were quietly practicing spring mindfulness.

Julian and I have been talking recently about mindfulness....

Some of my Eastern philosophy books never made it further than the kitchen shelf in our recent move from Crillon, and whatdya know - I came down one morning and my husband was reading 'The New Meditation Handbook' by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso! For a man who talks so fast he swallows half his syllables, who takes time to prepare delicious food he, despite his protestations, simply CANNOT savour ("It's because I want to eat it while it's still hot" he said when I questioned him. This argument fell down however over the cold chicken salad the next day.), and for someone who, three seconds after waking is humming madly and doesn't stop till the gentle snoring starts, this is a very interesting development.

Goody Gum Drop's mindful practice took it's favourite form today - that of pea-podding our luncheon peas (two of which feature on today's postcard), and I got into quite a rhythm:

pop. squeak 'n slide. push 'n ping
pop. squeak 'n slide. push 'n ping
pop. squeak 'n slide. push 'n ping

- All done with three swift movements of the thumb; a single three-fold gesture; a sarabande in green-time. For a moment there I was sure I was indeed freewheeing along the three-fold path.

We shall see if Julian learns to savour his food, to say anything without me having to say "Wot?" afterwards, or if indeed his hum ever does turn into an 'om', but I have always maintained, and now more than ever, that Julian is actually much more mindful than I. Whatever, we are on a beautiful journey together...

(.....after all, the journey is the goal, not the summit, and even if you do have fancy lycra trousers that doesn't guarantee you'll see the green cherries along the way.)

4 Comments:

Blogger Ramla A. said...

I was just imagining I want to be in a place like this... this row of flowers! Exquisite! I have got goose bumps with excitement. Lovely place, lovely photograph. And I love the idyllice bicycle.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Ramla A. said...

May I place this picture on my blog http://alustforlife.blogspot.com? It will lead to your site and be presented with proper credits. Let me know. Merci!

10:55 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

with the greatest of pleasure ramla a! nice title and nice blog to be associated with!

3:15 PM  
Blogger Ramla A. said...

Thank you! I have put the picture up. It is so lovely... and I so love poppies, esp. the Post-Impressionist paintings of poppy fields by Van Gogh, et al.

Pleasure is indeed mine. And yes, I will share with you some of the photos of Pakistan, my homeland. It has some of the most untainted natural wonders.

2:56 PM  

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