I don’t know what this song is supposed to be about but it makes me think of suddenly recognizing something from the past. An emergence deeper than memory. Something we intimately know that is etched in the fingerprint of our DNA. This is the kind of connection biking and walking makes for me. It brings forward a relationship that I can’t quite finger.
What’s old is new again. When I ride the I-40 Trail I travel by public art works and a nice garden built in the median of the interstate. There are pueblo style vases deposited there all blown up to gigantic scale so people can see and process them at high speeds just like everything else that is constructed on the highways we are supposed to pay attention to like the signs and lane markings. I stopped the other day on the Tomasita street bike/ped bridge to take some photos of this lovely installation.
An image came to mind. Here in the arid west many rural residents haul their own water since supplying it from a well is unfeasible or too expensive in this dry land. You see these pick-up trucks with bending rear ends loaded with a sloshing water tank headed for home. The tanks are round and made of plastic. I imagined using these old style vessels instead lashed to the bed with ropes made from yucca with a little water overflowing from the top splashing down the darkening clay sides. Santa Fe style water delivery.
Maybe that’s not the ideal innovation to improve Southwest living with the infusion of classic traditions. But when I see the joyful faces of youthful people bounding over the Tomasita street bridge to and from school that registers as a great application of tradition that’s making our cities more elegant by manifesting a resurgence of human presence in the landscape. Albuquerque has many excellent infrastructure assets that are foundational to facilitating good walking and biking in this town. Human powered movement is an old fashioned style but it matches this young nation and its young citizens very well. Walking and biking is a good means and has a multiplier effect on good ends. Getting these traditional ways of moving reintegrated properly in our transportation system is appropriate and elemental for building up the whole community and relighting the candles from our natural heritage of wisdom. Increasing this kind of development is a clear win all around.
I like driving a car too but why make such a big haul in the instances where we can flow more efficiently by our own power with barely any resistance like water running down hill. Keep it light and inexpensive. Make it easy if you can. Efficiency is key to transportation economies. Biking and walking are an important part of the transportation mix requiring attention. We need to smoothen out more pathways to apply this simple technology on a scale appropriate for our basic needs. We’ll benefit from using walking and biking more to our advantage.
When I look in the faces of people moving naturally under their own powers I recognize something ancient and free. A way to touch common ground. Walk and bike facilities help people develop fuller powers, grow mastery over their mobility and relate on a human scale to their living environment, our neighbors, our home towns. We might see places we haven’t imagined as we develop this kind of material investment. Walking and biking is a basic means at the confluence of practical, economical and healthy. Unlike the vases in the pick up trucks healthy transportation is a good fit. Not overblown or too fancy. Original ways of being that still suit us well with lots of useful applications. I’m following the lead of these young people.