Mark Twain once said "You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus", and although I seemed to have swapped a DSLR for a camera phone, my imagination still runs wild. Whilst Albert Einstein, wisely stated that 'Imagination is more powerful than intelligence', in which case I bet a few of us just got a little richer in life.
Einstein also said the bicycle was the best invention ever, and riding a bike is the perfect way to be mindful. So here I am writing again, actually sitting in the work truck, using my imagination and banging on about being mindful again. But seriously I think Einstein was spot on.
I'm currently reading a fantastic book 'Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling' by Ben Irvine, and I used my imagination and stole these quotes direct from this book. But hang on, before you shout 'plagiarist', and before I'd even picked up this book, without even realising that Einstein has said these things many years ago, I am only ever mindful when cycling and always have been.
Even as I near the 50 year mark, and as a lifelong bike rider, from old built up mash up bikes (trackers), BMX, to today's modern road and mountain bikes, I still get stoked on riding my bike and certainly still day dream of trails, or ‘grass up the middle’ lanes, highland gravel roads, or alpine areas I feel destined to experience. Road or trail, the bicycle is a great invention, and hence my imaginative hashtag #velohealth, it simply makes you feel better. But I don't just ride bikes, I surf too, not the internet if people still use that phrase 'surfing the net', but real waves, in the real ocean, here in the Wild West of Cornwall, and when I surf, I'm mindful too. In fact, I bet if you ride a Motocross bike, go fishing, play golf, go walking, shooting, whatever your chosen activity, I would imagine, your being mindful too. I reckon, I've exhausted references to my imagination just in this first few paragraphs. Thanks Einstein, I feel powerful.
Anyway, this blog should be about my observations when I'm doing the things I love, and I love seeing whats going on around me here in the Wild West.
As Autumn brings change across the Cornish Kingdom the weather brings us variable climates from Indian summers to Atlantic storms, mild 'mizzle' to windless, almost surreal calm. The misty days hide an addictive landscape, and when the sun shines, the vistas are exposed that have found artist’s fame, TV programmes a global following, and an ever expanding and diverse economic revenue through tourism (Note: Poldark visitors are off the scale this year). When the leaves begin falling from the trees, they remind me of a big old hibernating bear. This process allowing strength to be stored over winter, resting and giving it a fighting chance to impress us next year with the full blown energy needed during that spring burst of colour.
As winter approaches here in Cornwall, the ocean seems to get darker, more cobalt, dense to the touch and it's beginning to get cold. Back on the hill where I ride, the trails are a little damper after some rainfall, not yet wet, boggy or inaccessible, but rideable with fun wetness, almost peak conditions as the earth softens.
Pondering the cold, mild and dark months ahead, my thoughts turn to how much we also look forward to spring when the ocean turns a translucent blue again; the evenings stretch out and the mornings are filled with dawn chorus and the evenings that glorious late sun. The trails begin to dry and the riding options increase as the post work riding and surfing is more doable. The heather and gauze on the trails gain their flowers and the beauty of the summer transcends the winter reds, and earth like colours. The fruit of the bramble begins to appear in late July and August providing a foragers gift to a fruity crumble and custard, or the wild flowers a refreshing salad. The hedgerows are blooming with life and the favoured trail draws you in once more. But right now the heather has lost its abundant growth, and, after overpowering the trails, the summer greens have turned a burnt crispy red, and are returning to the ground from whence it came.
Riding Mountain bikes and Surfing here in the Wild West, in the physical environment, can be breath-taking, the granite single tracks, trodden by more feet than rubber, expose a huge amount of off road fun for those willing to get out and explore. When we're surfing, the granite coastline is always looking down upon us, letting us know just how tough it is.
Out surfing recently, I looked back towards the rugged coastline, again mindful in the calmness and simplicity of waiting for waves. As much as I like riding my bikes, there is the beauty to surfing, and believe, if Einstein had lived by the coast, he would have changed his tune and realised, the act of riding waves far exceeds the invention of the bicycle by a thousand odd years, probably, sorry Einstein, and the creation of, or means to ride a wave, has to be the greatest invention. But on that day, sitting on my surfboard, the greatest invention ever, I was visualising trails to ride, my mind was elsewhere. Finding a different perspective, framing rectangular shots with my hands like an artist, or photographer. I was surfing, but mindfully creating a series of photos that would highlight the beauty of the Wild West from a riders perspective, images that portray the benefits for personal well being and emotional strength.
Now in October, the sun is lower and the shadows longer, time to play after work is getting slim, and the North wind brings an autumnal chill, but with this chill brings the autumn swells and for us the quietness of the Wild West returns. The opportunity to enjoy the trails, grab my bike for that brief moment after work, or put the lights on, and that brings new opportunity, and laughter. My imagination runs wild, thinking about it. Mindfulness happens when I surf, or ride bikes....Cheers Einstein, I reckon you would have been a great surfer, and if mountain bikes were around, you'd be a freerider.
Note: The photo taken by my friend Josef Fitzpatrick-Patrick. It's is the result of what I wanted to portray, its trail riding here in the Wild West, but brought to life by the brilliant imagination of Josef. More about this in a later blog.