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Mindfulness Exercises

While bicycling in town, I have made up a rule for myself: if I see something interesting, I should stop and take a photograph. Here's a series I have accumulated over the past week or so.

This place has spring! Flowers are beginning to emerge. It's strange to see old friends that I haven't seen in YEARS, like crocuses and daffodils, sprouting up so comfortably from the ground.
Wanting to hope

This waterway and nature center are along my commute. Even in the winter, the area is beautiful and peaceful.

In the afternoons, there are usually people congregated around here, looking at things in the water.

On Sunday, I rode all the way down to the end of the Billy Wolff trail, before I had that whole bike accident adventure on the 84th street "trail." The end of the Billy Wolff is a 10-mile ride from home, and very pleasant.
Where the sidewalk ends

Later on, on the John Dietrich trail, I was amused to see the toy cars on the roof on top of this junkyard shed (hard to see in the photo, though - on the left).
Free junk car removal

The John Dietrich trail passes through some industrial parts of town, including this overpass above some of the trainyards. It was mind-boggling to see how long the coal and gas trains were.

There are bicycling-themed sculptures along many of the trails, such as this DinoBike along the Mopac trail:

Here's someone who wanted an all-in-one vehicle, along the Rock Island trail. This thing amazes me every time I ride past, on the way to and from rides at Joyride Bicycles.
Double decker

After last night's 1-3 am insomnia (emotion centers have been working VERY HARD), just as I drifted back to sleep, I saw four or five bright white flashes that startled me awake again. None of my blinking electronic devices generate that kind of light. It turned out to be a thunderstorm breaking overhead, I figured out from the rumbling thunder, wind, and raindrops spattering the windows.

That made today's commute more interesting and beautiful - Antelope Creek was full of rushing floodwaters, slowed by this dam project. The dam project also illustrates my point about disposable beverage containers. All of those white dots along the dam are styrofoam cups and Starbucks coffee cups. In the distance, you might be able to see some of the bright colors of a huge mural on the side of a building - also beautiful to ride past.
Floodwaters and beverage containers

One of the things that I discovered on Sunday's bike ride is a nicer back way to ride in to campus, that also goes past a paper and plastic bag harvesting ground.
Where the plastic bag plants fruit

I try really hard to not accumulate packaging, but have found myself in need of plastic bags for the trash (we're required to bag our trash), and paper bags for compost scraps (I gave my compost bucket to J&K when I moved out). I've been out on walks with my father when he's found and picked up paper fast-food bags, explaining that he uses them to line his compost bucket (they're also a source of carbon for the worms). But I haven't known where to look for such things around here. Sure enough, here's the perfect spot. Two McDonald's bags, in great shape.

This underpass takes me on a route that bypasses three busy traffic lights and parts of campus with heavy pedestrian traffic. It's totally worth the extra distance on days when I'm not in a hurry (most days).



( 10 remarks — Remark )
Mar. 24th, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed this photo tour. It looks like an enjoyable ride! The cycling dinosaur is charming (I like the toothy grin) and a good water feature is always a welcome addition to time outside.
Mar. 24th, 2015 10:42 pm (UTC)
I'm happy to be able to share it - I'm sort of reminded of what it was like to bike tour around Washington a couple of summers back - so many new and interesting experiences to be had.
Mar. 24th, 2015 11:20 pm (UTC)
Keep taking pictures. I am now very curious about Lincoln. There is so much that is ignored in the middle of the US. So I want to see.
Mar. 25th, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
Will do. I have a friend who has been in St. Louis for the last couple of years, and to some extent I've been inspired by her. For a little while I thought it was just because she was supremely good at ferreting out interesting tidbits, but now I am thinking that in part it's that there are a lot of interesting quirks and historical bits in this part of the country.
Mar. 25th, 2015 01:33 pm (UTC)
St. Louis and its surroundings are actually quite fascinating and there is a ton of neat stuff happening in that area. I recommend a visit at some point if only for the City Museum.
Mar. 25th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC)
You make Lincoln look fabulous!
Mar. 25th, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC)
As gfrancie said a while back, Nebraska: surprising.

I was impressed when I visited two years ago, and am even more impressed now that I am living here for a spell.
Mar. 26th, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
One of the midwestern states has that as its motto, I believe, although I think it's phrased 'not what you expected'.
Mar. 25th, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC)
Your photo essay reminds me of a line from the poem by Mary Oliver, "Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?":
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Here's the entire poem:

There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree–
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

I hope you enjoy it!
Mar. 25th, 2015 05:16 pm (UTC)
Re: poem
Yes, thank you, Dad!
( 10 remarks — Remark )

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