Life is Beautiful

Jan 22, 2013
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Photo by Roger McKeever

Life is Beautiful
 -Roger McKeever

The day after Christmas, I went down to the basement to get my bike for a ride.  I unlocked the door only to find that my bike was gone.  I was shocked!  Instantly I was bombarded by a thousand thoughts, but I knew that it hadn't been stolen.  I sensed that I had probably locked it up somewhere and then left it.  But where?  I spent hours retracing the events from the Winter Solstice (when I last remember having my bike) to the moment I found it missing.  I called my friends and hashed out all the events of those few days.  Nothing jogged my memory.  I visited all the typical spots where I ride my bike.  I visited all the unusual spots where I ride my bike.  I spent three weeks racking my brain and searching Portland, but the bike didn't turn up.

Then one morning I was out with Tommy.  He was about to drop me off at Shakti House to teach a yoga class, and I asked him to ride by Three Friends Coffeehouse (a nearby place I go to occasionally) to see if my bike was there.  It wasn't.  Tommy dropped me off, and I said good-bye.  I thought to myself, "Okay.  This is it.  After today I am letting go. Tomorrow I will start my search for a new bike."  Literally 15 minutes later I got a call from Tommy.  "Roger, I found your bike!!," he exclaimed.  I coudn't believe it.  I asked him where he found it.  He said, "Fred Meyer."

Fred Meyer is the grocery store I shop at regularly.  It's literally 1 1/2 blocks from my house, and even as I write this entry I can look out of my window and see the roof of Fred Meyer.  I go to that store almost every day.  The bike was locked up on the bike rack right next to the entrance.  For three weeks I walked right by my bike and never noticed.  Finding my bike was a relief, but there was also an element of humiliation.  How could I walk by my bike every day for three weeks and not notice?

The other morning I went to Fred Meyer to get some organic bananas for my breakfast.  As I was leaving the store I was texting with a friend, and I accidentally bumped shoulders with a woman who was also texting.  I stopped for a moment.  I looked around and literally every single person I could see had their head down looking at their phone.  It was like a weird scene out of Stepford Wives or some zombie movie.  Then it hit me:  this is why I didn't see my bike.  Every time I go to the store I am on my phone catching up with texts, making phone calls or checking Facebook.  I'm not paying attention!

Since then, I have committed to leaving my phone in my backpack when I'm out and about around town.  Instead of using my phone, I've been trying to notice as much around me as I can.  It has made all the difference.  Portland is beautiful.  People are beautiful.  The trees and the moss and the cloud swollen sky and even the street signs are beautiful.

Life is beautiful, and we can see it with our own eyes if we're willing to lay distraction aside and look