Wednesday, April 30, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: The End Is Not The End

Today is the last day of April, the last day I've committed to this odd promise of scootering and blogging every day. I leave far too early for a meeting with a friend where we'll solve the problems of the world. I allow extra time to wander, to stop, to take a picture or a note. These are my habits now.

I doubt I'll keep to the daily blogging discipline, that still feels like a chore, but the camera falls easily to hand and my feet tread scooter deck or street with equal ease. Scootering has become as habitual as a heartbeat.

Thoreau had his walks around Concord, I have my scooter trips around Issaquah. There are animals I've come to know, birds, trees, flowers, ponds. It would seem unnatural not to visit, or at least non-neighborly. My neighborhood has made me neighborly.

The birds are mostly used to my not talking, so I'm not here to say goodbye or to promise I'll be back tomorrow.

But every day of these past thirty has shown me something and the things I've seen bring me back, later, to see more.

I'm no longer promising a report every day, but every day delivers something promising and these past thirty have helped me learn to look. I wont stop looking.

And so I'll keep rolling, wandering. And maybe blogging now and then. About what I've found while out and about on my feet or my bike or my scooter.

8.44 miles of scootering today, bringing my April total to 242.23 miles.

Thanks for putting up with the #30DaysofScootering.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: What I Talk About When I Talk About Scootering

Haruki Murakami wrote a terrific book called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. It is about running and writing but ultimately it is a book about life. As I read Murakami's book I found myself editing his experiences into my life. Where he talks about running, I would see myself scootering or bicycling. The lessons are the same.

Here is what Murakami has to say on pages 43-45 in my copy of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

When I tell people I run every day, some are quite impressed. "You must really have a strong will," they sometimes tell me. Of course, it's nice to be praised like this. A lot better than being disparaged, that's for sure. But I don't think it's merely willpower that makes you able to do something. The world isn't that simple. To tell the truth, I don't even think there's that much correlation between my running every day and whether or not I have a strong will. I think I've been able to run for more than twenty years for a simple reason: It suits me. Or at least because I don't find it all that painful. Human beings naturally continue doing things they like, and they don't continue what they don't like. Admittedly, something close to will does play a small part in that. But no matter how strong a will a person has, no matter how much he may hate to lose, if it's an activity he really doesn't care for, he won't keep it up for long. Even if he did, it wouldn't be good for him. 
That's why I've never recommended running to others. I've tried my best never to say something like, Running is great. Everybody should try it. If some people have an interest in long-distance running, just leave them be, and they'll start running on their own. If they're not interested in it, no amount of persuasion will make any difference. Marathon running is not a sport for everyone, just as being a novelist isn't a job for everyone. Nobody ever recommended or even desired that I be a novelist -- in fact, some tried to stop me. I had the idea to be one, and that's what I did. Likewise, a person doesn't become a runner because someone recommends it. People basically become runners because they're meant to.
Still some might read this book and say, "Hey, I'm going to give running a try," and then discover they enjoy it. And of course that would be a beautiful thing. As the author of this book I'd be very pleased if that happened. But people have their own individual likes and dislikes. Some people are more suited for marathon running, some for golf, others for gambling. Whenever I see students in gym class all made to run a long distance, I feel sorry for them. Forcing people who have no desire to run, or who aren't physically fit enough, is a kind of pointless torture. I always want to advise teachers not to force all junior and senior high school students to run the same course, but I doubt anybody is going to listen to me. That's what schools are like. The most important thing we ever learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school.

Sometimes I stay inside and read books. Sometimes I grab my scooter and head out the door.

It suits me to ride my scooter every day.

Someone might read this blog and then say, "Hey, I'm going to give scootering a try."

And then discover they enjoy it.

Of course, that would be a beautiful thing.

As the author of this blog, I'd be very happy if that happened.

The most important thing we ever learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school.

There is beauty all around.

Sometimes the best thing to do is roll out the door to find it.

3.81 miles of scootering today, bringing the April total to 233.79 miles.

Monday, April 28, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: The Gift of What You Notice More

I set off this morning to get a few extra scooter miles in before work. I've concluded that while I like the rhythm of scootering, the balance and flow of it as I hit the right timing of kicking and coasting, the best thing for me is the pace of travel. On the scooter I go fast enough to increase my range, I scoot farther than I'd be prone to walk, yet I'm still at a pace where I notice things. On the scooter stopping never seems to interrupt the flow, the stops are part of the flow. Dar Williams has a lovely phrase in her song The Blessings where she speaks of "the gift of what you notice more." The scooter brings blessings to me but each day when I roll out I'm never quite sure what they'll be.

It's a beautiful morning as I scoot along Gilman Boulevard.

I stop at Trader Joe's to get more of my favorite snacks. Thanks to my scootering, walking and biking, I count all these snacks as fuel.

I stop by the Maple Street pond.

Quiet moments like these are definitely blessings.

I roll towards home on the shaded trail.

This new family can tell I'm no threat. They're perfectly happy to be one more blessing, one of the gifts I have the time to notice more.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Sunday Morning Scootering

This morning brought a bit of sun, a bunch of clouds, some wind and the threat of rain. I figured my best bet for good scooter riding was to get out early, before my afternoon shift at the bike shop. I've been playing around more with my camera's timer and my mini tripod.

I'm dressed for rain. My Rivendell MUSA pants (AKA "the best damn pants I've ever owned") dry in a flash if they do get wet. They look pretty normal, have super deep pockets and reflective tape at the ankles. OK, aside from the reflective tape, they look pretty normal.

It usually takes me a few passes to get the timing right so I actually show up in these shots.

Here I am blazing down the trail. I'm usually not in any danger of exceeding the posted speed limit.

See the shadows and the clouds? Very mixed weather this morning.

I roll and walk along some of the trails in Sammamish State Park.

It's good rainbow weather.

Right after I took this shot, it started raining.

This bridge over the Issaquah Creek was pretty rain slicked.

Looking out on Lake Sammamish.

A goose swam by as I took this shot of the Issaquah Creek

More birds of prey. The park is home to various eagles and hawks.

Note the clearing skies.

A bit further on, it's back to cloudy weather.

It's raining again by the time I get home and pouring when I scooter off to work.

8.57 miles of scootering today, bringing my April total to 229.98 miles.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: The Long Way Home

It's just over a quarter of a mile between home and work, so I scooter to work and back and forth for lunch, I get a bit over a mile's worth of scootering in a day. But on a nice day, like today, I might take the long way home. I'm not racing. I stop to smell the flowers.

There are a lot of flowers in Issaquah.

More of Issaquah's public art. That's Tiger Mountain in the background.

And still more flowers. A grand total of 3.82 miles of scootering today, bringing the April total to 221.41 miles.

Friday, April 25, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Birds and a Bunny

After a full day of work (and my usual 1.08 miles of scooter commuting) I set out from home in quest of a little snack, a bit of exercise and, frankly, some pictures for today's blog entry. A big part of the #30DaysofScootering isn't the scootering, it's the blogging! So I literally roll off into the sunset.

This community garden has a terrific gate.

These two ducks waddle off the path as I scooter on by.

At the little pond on Maple Street I see this family of geese. They decide I don't look trustworthy and head for the water.

They put some distance between themselves and me.

But my camera lens can zoom in a bit. I pick up my snack from Trader Joe's (a couple of bananas, a half gallon of coconut milk and some ginger snaps, in case you're curious) and then roll off towards home.

 The sun is setting behind Cougar Mountain.

The sunset colors the clouds over the Plateau.

I scooter along Gilman Boulevard and then follow the Rainier Trail home.

This little guy is waiting in my front yard. Usually the rabbits bounce away before I can get my camera out.

My phone GPS tells me tonight's scoot is 3.92 miles which added to my commute gives me exactly 5 miles for the day, bringing my April total to 217.59 miles of scootering.