Last week I had one of those rides that made me feel good about humanity. Everywhere I looked, I saw social progress — man working toward the betterment of man. Don’t get me wrong, that almost never ends well, but the continuation of the process is what gives me hope. We keep trying.
I love riding past the tomato fields of Oceanside. I find their aesthetic stunning. And beyond how they look, that millions of people get fed from tomato fields all over the world is also beautiful. And beyond that — beyond those large fields of tomatoes that feed millions of people and look so good doing it, they don’t just bring nutrition, they bring happiness. There’s happiness in pizza, and you can’t have pizza without tomatoes.
And that highway I rode — alongside those tomato fields…? What an absolute miracle. Roads are the arteries that allow thousands of people, every day, to see other people, to get to work, to get to the beach, and to get away from home, if only for a while. And virtually everything I look at in my house, as I write this at 4am, spent time on a highway, just like the one I rode my bike on yesterday. Like tomato fields, roads and highways are miracles.
Not far off that highway is a sea of red ceramic roofs. These are little boxes where children grow up, come home to after school, have parties, kick balls in the backyard, and eat pot roast made by their mothers. Houses are aware sibling rivalries are formed, evening movies are enjoyed, and where the family pet is laid to rest under the rose bush in the backyard. Houses too, are miracles.
And above and below all of those houses with red ceramic roofs, there are lines of electricity, of water, and cables of communications that make all of this work. Those are the nervous system of social structure — a network of miracles.
Of course it’s easy to be critical of monoculture tomato fields, of highways and the vehicles that fill them, of the houses we escape to each evening, and of power lines, sewer lines, and fiber optic cables. It’s been studied and documented for decades, that all of our advancements are lining up to destroy us.
On some level though, to me anyway, they are still advancements and they are still miracles. Appreciating them — that takes work. On some level, I trust that millions of people, every day, are working hard to make all of those things better, cleaner, and more efficient, for all of us. Some of those people will certainly fail. Some though, will actually succeed — they’ll make the world a better place by contributing to the next lineage of miracles.
There are two sides to every coin, including the coin of humanity. On one side of the coin we have the slow biological evolution of the primate that is us. On the other side of that coin, we have the fast, increasingly complex evolution of social structure and all the trappings that go with it. And we — we who are living in this time and at this moment, are living our lives between two sides of the same coin.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 6
Mph Avg: 15.2
Seat Time: 12 hours 08 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Christopher Coleman. Enjoy…