This morning, I woke up again with a mental Christmas “still to-do list” that rivals most of those I make. I backed out of the garage and headed down the cul-de-sac, turning left onto St. Peter’s Road. As I round the corner, I again see “The Bicycle Tree.”
This isn’t a tiny faux tree adorned with miniature bicycle ornaments. It’s a towering, living, bark-clad structure whose leaves emerge in the spring and retire in the fall. And the two-wheelers are full-sized suspended bicycles!
Over the years, as this gentleman’s tree “grew” more and more bicycles, I started thinking, “what a shame; there are so many children who would love to have a bike; how crazy is it that they’re hung in a tree, unused!”
It took me too long before I saw the bicycle tree with new eyes, and I had a genuine Aha Moment as my brain shouted, “what right do I have to deem what’s appropriate for someone else?”
Of course, bicycles are utilitarian modes of recreation, transportation, and competitive cycling. They’re often expensive, but like everything we have in and outside our homes, they are possessions.
Often, we humans over-purchase, being susceptible to “it was just too good to pass up, “I may not be able to repurchase it,” or “I can always use an extra blender, designer sweater, or notebook.” Consumerism is often a panacea, and during this season, it can run rampant.
I am not anti-ownership, but I do believe that living with less is incredibly healthy. Creating beautiful spaces that bring joy is lovely, but possessions shouldn’t dominate our lives.
Back to “The Bicycle Tree.” So, if it’s okay to install a $600 aquarium, buy a front porch wreath that costs $90 or fill our homes with a hundred decorative items, how dare I judge that homeowner’s right to choose what gives him joy?
The bicycle tree awareness was an insight that opened the door to “what else am I not seeing with open-mindedness.” I aspire to be conscious of how I walk through life—to treat people respectfully, listen fully, honor differing opinions, and be present. But with the bicycle tree, I judged—until I didn’t, until the Aha Moment.
Life is full of ups and downs—blessings and heartbreak, peacefulness and frustration, unbridled joy and melancholy. It is the human experience, and for too many, there is no joy, no peace, and no ability to ever see a tree so beautifully adorned. Lessons are forever being taught. My desire is to continue to learn them.