I don’t like being outside. I never have liked being outside, except when I was little and naïve to the fact that bugs were everywhere and that sweat was a thing that seeped from the pours of every inch of one’s body. I am fully aware of that now. But today, I biked six miles.
Katie, my best friend from my New York City era, Steph, my travel companion, and I rented bikes at Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville. East Nashville, according to Katie, is, “[the] land of the hipster and the overpriced bungalow, and where coffee is an art, and tight jeans are worn by all. Tattoos are like freckles, everyone has them.” With that last comment, yes, these are my people. East Nashville is often times referred to as the NYC East Village of Nashville, and it is stocked full of artists, creatives, and yes, tattooed people with whom I’d like to befriend.
We rode up to Cumberland River Bridge; it was too high to imagine making it to in my mind, but we did. If Katie would have told me it was three miles there alone, I would have said “no way” and to be honest, I did say “no way”, and “I’m going to die!” and “ahhh, this was a bad choice!” But as I pedaled behind them, taking in the green trees lining the trail and crossing the rickety bridges, I looked up at the blue sky and was silent for a while.
I looked into the trees, imagining deer making their home in there, and greeting passersby with hellos. I talked to my friends and goofed off on Snapchat. We stopped to meet a turtle that was crossing the bridge, and after a couple photo opps, Katie helped him cross the bridge the way he was faced. #heroicdeedoftheday. We named him Ziggy Zig. We saw many rabbits and apparently, I missed a deer sighting.
This was being outside among bugs, and yes, I was sweating. Then we saw the bridge. The bridge was up a big hill. We walked our bikes up there, around a winding path, and stood in the middle, taking in Tennessee’s beauty and watching heron’s fly across the trees. It was a little scary to look down off of a high bridge that was over a river. It was so vast. The other girls started ahead of me back to our bikes and behind them I silently opened my arms and let my head fall back. I didn’t close my eyes though because before me was a masterpiece and that masterpiece was all natural. Nature, in and of itself, is beautiful. I just never took the time to appreciate it or get to know something I’m not used to. It makes me think of people and what they’re not used to
All we have to do with something new is be open-minded. Being open-minded is half the battle in most things that end of being worth it. So biking six miles is my challenge to my routine, and it makes me wonder what other things I’m missing out on. It makes me wonder if people in general were exposed to people who pushed their boundaries and their thinking to things they normally would say ‘no way’ to, would the human race be more accepting? Our experiences shape us, and although this biking adventure shaped my legs, it also has shaped my thoughts on living.