I got up early today all pumped for a morning ride. Chilly mornings and bike rides go well together given that the appropriate layers are put on. Not in numbers but texture-wise. So I did. Double gloves included, having learned my lesson from a previous ride. There were quite a few commuting cars on the road but I didn’t mind them. Their zooming past is part of that morning music that I listen to as soon as I hop on my bike.
I biked along sleepy-looking houses and through crowded intersections until I got to roll on the road that slithers along the ocean shore, a most favourite part of my ride. The ocean was a rather metallic blue, streaked with ribbons of white water. Beautiful, but it made me think of cold as in COLD. My fingertips agreed. It felt like I had pain thimbles growing on my thumbs. It hurts quite a bit, I must admit, but usually the thrill of the ride takes the some of that edge of. What luck! And then I saw him. Just getting out of his sleeping bag, a homeless guy who spent yet another night behind one of the concession stands was rubbing his hands. I tried to imagine what his nights were like. I was heading home to a hot shower, warm breakfast and hot tea. Cold morning or not, I had nothing to complain about but be grateful that I have a bike to ride on fast enough that my fingertips get awfully cold – my choice after all!, time to go for that ride, enough layers to put on. That I have eyes to see places and people and a mind to understand that gratitude is a word that should be a permanent fixture in the heart and not just make a temporary appearance on the lips.
Most of all, that I have the luxury to think of cold weather as a fun challenge to add to my training routine as opposed to a real, often times life-threatening adversity that winter is for many unfortunate people out there. And for those of you saying, well, everybody has a choice, homeless people included, I’d say let’s decide that we judge after trying to help. And only then. If we still feel like it, that is… Ain’t gratitude something?