Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Bicycle Metaphor

Bicycles move
With the flow
Of the earth
Like a cloud
So quiet

In the October sky
Like licking ice cream
From a cone

Like knowing you
Will always
Be there
From Bicycles Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni

Do you remember your first two-wheel bicycle?

I remember mine.  We were living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at the time.  I was in third grade; my little brother just a baby.  For my October birthday that year I got a shiny blue bicycle.  Learning to ride it was problematic, and I remember my father running behind me, holding me up, as I tried over and over to get my balance.

When I finally learned to ride it, a few skinned knees later - that wind in my hair freedom the bicycle provided was such a joy. 

There is a modern poet, Nikki Giovanni, who uses bicycles as a metaphor for life.  The wheels represent tragedy and trauma, because they're always spinning.  The inescapable falling and pain come as you learn to ride.
In an interview with Bill Moyer, Ms. Giovanni said bicycles are about "trust and balance".  She went on to say "..we do that in our relationships.  It's the same bike.  We are continuing relationships through trust and balance."

I think about my Daddy running breathlessly after me on my bike to insure my safety.  Knowing he was there, I was able to find my balance.

Photos from New Orleans, courtesy J. Evensen

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