Hello, I’m Taylor, welcome to Things Not Seen: Perspectives on the world around you.
As a ten year old boy, my brother, Mom and Dad, and I traveled to the Southern California Mountains for a summer vacation. Everything as a kid is an adventure. But, getting Mom and Dad alone and away from the city, smog, and busyness of life was nirvana.
We left early on a Saturday in June from our home on Lenore Avenue for a short drive to Big Bear Lake and our “A” frame rental. Bikes, cards, swimsuits, and plenty of dimes, nickels, and quarters were all John, my brother, and I needed to be happy.
As each curve and peak passed, John and I anticipated the fun ahead: arcades, trails, and lakes, raced through our minds like horses on a carousel. The previous winter we had rented motorcycles for an excursion through the woods. This trip, no motorcycles, due partly to a stuck throttle and a poor choice as to which was softer, mom or a tree. But, miles of trails had been promised for exploring with our huffies. This would be the first order of business for John and me.
Upon arriving, we were forced into child labor, and made to unpack the car. Twenty-five hours later (actually about 20 minutes), we mounted our bikes to scout out trails. Trees bordered the back of the cabin with only a small dirt opening suggesting a possible trail. Aiming the bikes in this direction, we pushed past the initial undergrowth. I was scared. The sun was dipping behind a tall peak.
Bears were my biggest fear. It wasn’t called Big Bear for nothing. More than once I was tempted to throw my bike down and run for it. John wasn’t scared. He wouldn’t run. But if I did, being the younger, I would live as the baby forever, so I continued on.
The path widened and two bikes could ride side by side. Pedaling harder than I thought possible, the slope continued to increase. A few smaller trails intersected with ours. Ahead of us, the sun lit the path, giving me hope for a summit, and no more climb. John reached the top first. Breathing hard he called back, “Awesome! Ty, look!” Looking past his finger I knew what he was thinking.
My brother has always been up for a dare, challenge, or adventure. Extreme sports came one generation too late for him, but in his own way, he could have been the father of the sport. As young as four or five he was jumping anything with his Big Wheel. Mom caught him seconds before he attempted jumping from our flat roof car port to the house with his Big Wheel at age six. He had no fear.
So, when I reached the top of the trail and looked, I knew I was about to be talked into something I had no desire to do. Before me was a wide path down a steep slope which resembled a bobsled course. As a ten year old, the initial drop off looked like it would kill you. Then you were required to make an immediate course adjustment to the left or you would collide with a group of rocks. After this, the slope lessened a bit, but the path narrowed; having the effect of increasing your speed, decreasing your control, and pumping up your adrenaline.
John was gone before I could protest. He made the first turn, then the next. As the path narrowed his bike shook. He skidded left, right, then straightened out and soared to the bottom of the hill. Success! But of course, that was John.
Me? That is another story. I would go eventually, sweaty palms and all, but not before some heavy protest, name calling (on John’s part), and a few “Dear Jesus, save me!” prayers.
Getting a bike started down a hill is not near as hard as stopping it. But, on this day, it took me a good five minutes of heavy breathing before I pushed my front tire over the edge. I made the first turn okay. Still in control, going faster with each roll of my tires, but I was doing okay.
As I made it to the narrowed section of the path, I began to believe I could do this. The bike was shaking, my wheels wouldn’t stay straight, and the pedals were going so fast I was having trouble keeping my feet on them. But, I had not lost control, and I was almost to the bottom.
One last curve and a descending slope and I would be done. The slope dropped more than I anticipated. My feet left the pedals. Totally out of control, going faster and faster, I put my feet out trying to balance or stop the bike. The handlebars and front tire wobbled. While replacing my feet on the pedals, I looked down. The front wheel turned left. The biked stopped its forward motion. I flew over the handlebars, my previously sweaty palms and face exchanged the sweat for dirt and blood. I skidded to a stop before my brother to which he replied, “Awesome! Let do it again!”
I share this childhood memory to invoke an image in your mind of the world around us. Technology and globalization have quickened the pace of life. As I go about my day, I often feel I am back on my huffy speeding down the trail out of control. Feeling this, I know I am only one turn away from a bad fall.
Our world too is speeding down a hill at an uncontrollable pace. Change is occurring faster than comprehension. And more and more, we are missing life. We are on the bike laughing, enjoying the speed, believing we might pull it out, but knowing we are at the mercy of the path ahead.
I desire to share stories which speak to the truth of the world around us; pulling back the curtain on the reality behind the events which pervade our daily lives. I don’t believe in accidents. I do believe in logic, providence, and purposeful living. Please join me for an opportunity to discover deeper meaning in the world around you.
Blessings and Peace to you,
Copyright © 2006 by Taylor W. Kendrick
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