When I was eight I received more freedom for my birthday.
My parents gave me love and a bike
and with the one in my heart and the other under my bottom
I set off to explore.
I had already roamed as far as my legs would carry me
but my wheels and pedals took me to new streets
and past different fields and even to the library.
In distant gutters I found old matchboxes
and on November sixth I found burnt-out rockets.
I penetrated deeply into this new territory.
Beyond my limits I found an empty world
(empty of my previous life)
within which new connections swirled and formed.
At the end of each trip
I wheeled my bike through the gate
left it safely in the garage
and knew that the world was not as I had thought it.
My understanding was growing, but it was not perfect.
That bike had no gears, and my parents bought it second-hand and my uncle Jim went and got it and cycled it home for me. It was my first bike. I’ve had many since, and they all remain in my memory along with some of the trips they took me on. I guess it was me that was changing, and the bikes came along for the ride, but it didn’t feel that way. That first bike took me into new territory in a big way. And the strange thing is that new territories keep opening up, with or without bikes. All you have to do is follow the guidance and give yourself the chance to explore and be curious. A good source of guidance is the Buddhist text, ‘The heart of perfect understanding.’