“It’s a very simple machine.  I feel very connected to what’s going on.”

Will says this as we’re riding together on a crystalline Sunday as the clock arcs to noon and then crests it as we race like mad on the straightaway home.

Fixed gear bikes, or “fixies” are really a throwback to the first bikes—your feet do not coast but must continually turn as the gears do.  You can also pedal backward—and go backward (if you are skilled enough to not simply crash), and in this way a fixie echoes the very concept of time, at least as cutting edge scientists are now suggesting—as likely to work in reverse as forward… ultimately existing only as a way by which we experience ourselves, but in no ultimate sense real, fixed, sequential or causal:  it’s just one big eternal now, even if that blows us out of the matrix of our socially and neurologically constructed “reality.”

But I’m not here to hate on time.  Bob Dylan suggests that time is a jet plane, and it moves too fast.  Sometimes in parenting this is true, but sometimes time’s a slug and it moves too slow.  Maybe time’s a fixie and goes either way, or maybe a fixie’s just a fixie and a nice bike ride is an eternal pleasure, at least on a stunning fall day as golden red leaves tumble whimsically out of blue and branch.

Thus as we strive beyond ill-timed notions of immortality altogether and trade up toward an eternal to be found perpetually, in all directions, in all situations, in all beings and non-beings—again and again our children, the present moment and love, in all its manifestations, prove to be timelessly pulsing teachers of what it’s all about.



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8 Responses to “Fixie”

  1. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    A poet less renowned that Bob Dylan once wrote “Time is on my side” – yet that’s a lesson I struggle with as I race from place to place, trying to do more, see more, be more. (The only grown-up sized bike in our house is a stationery one. Ahh, the metaphors…) So I’m grateful for your musing on time, paired as it is in my mind with Lindsey’s from yesterday. Both invite me to rethink, think more, and maybe think less about what time gives us.

  2. Pamela Says:

    I love this Bruce. Staying present is always a struggle for me. I am most comfortable doing 10 things at once, but my kids are doing their best to teach me to be still. I love this idea of time as a continuum. My boys LOVE their bikes too and we are out there most days. Your son is so wise – when I am with the boys on their bikes, I too feel connected to what is going on. What a gift!!

  3. Mark Brady Says:

    It’s funny how so many of the things that challenged and thrilled us when the world was new, still have the power to stir our passionate hearts!

  4. Meagan Frank Says:

    I had never heard of a fixie…until right now. And I’ll always think about it as a machine for the “right now”. With the potential to either go backward or forward, I would imagine the most skilled fixie riders could simply balance in a stationary moment. Experiencing time is like the potential backward to memories and forward to planning, but the place we should be practicing is in the balance between the two: harnessing the right now fixie. I love your posts! MMF

  5. Wolf Pascoe Says:

    The kid across the street got a new fixie. He demonstrated it for our kid just last weekend. He slowed to a stop and just balanced, not moving, or if he did, it was imperceptible little movements back and forth, for as long as he wanted, timelessly pulsing.

  6. Katrina Kenison Says:

    THis makes me think of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance! Remember — when things are simple enough for us to understand them, we ARE connected to what’s going on. Such Zen wisdom from your boy. The apple falls not far from the tree. . .

  7. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    A machine that lets you go both forward and backward? How cool is that?

    I agree with you; in the world of parenting, you feel so often that time moves too fast, but sometimes…boy, it just creeps on and on.

  8. All I Want for Christmas….Is a Balanced List « Meagan Frank- Choosing to Grow Says:

    […] read a recent blogpost by one of my favorite parent writers.  The blog is called Privilege of Parenting, and the man behind the prose writes often about the balance of life. His latest musing dealt with […]

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