Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Glimpse of Heaven

Last Sunday, I got a glimpse of heaven.

I got up early and fixed up all the family bikes - filled up tires, tightened brakes, replaced chains, etc. - and then my youngest six kids and I rode from Cadboro Bay, where we live, over to Oak Bay (the next bay down). It was really something to see them all lined up riding down the road, especially little four-year-old Trixta (hip-hop name) riding his little bike, his legs pumping furiously since his wheels are only like twelve inches in diameter.

We first rode down to Cadboro Bay Village and then made it up the hilly Cadboro Bay Road, crossing over on to Beach Drive through the large "Uplands" pillars. Uplands is a beautiful neighbourhood, full of big houses and manicured, landscaped lawns, and is on a small bluff overlooking the ocean (and at one point, the Oak Bay Yacht Club). Even our one mishap turned out great - T-Bone got a flat tire, and I had to call Spoiler (my brother) to come help us. We threw a rugby ball around on a small piece of grass bordering the sidewalk as we waited. Spoiler finally showed up in his big old GMC pick-up - a bizarre site in that neighbourhood - and proceeded to drive right over the curb and sidewalk toward us. We attached the aerosol tire-filler thing he brought to T-Bone's wheel, but to no avail - we finally just threw his bike in the back of the pick-up, and the other kids and I continued riding, and met up with Spoiler and T-Bone at Willows Beach. After a game of touch rugby on the grass, we all slipped down to the beach and had a rock throwing contest, and then headed up to Willows Galley, the local fish and chip shop.

Of course, my two oldest sons weren't there; they're off now with friends and girlfriends most of the time. It would have been fun if they had been, but then, they are all but out of the nest now. What I did regret was that Mommy wasn't there...but I guess a discussion of that is beyond the scope of this entry.

It has been a long time since I saw the kids as happy as I saw them on our ride. I guess it was something about all being together, and all experiencing so much pleasant sensory input: the big blue sunny sky, the popping flowers all around, the smell of the ocean and trees and blooms, the feeling of freedom on the bikes, the thrill of novelty (since we had never taken this trip before), the feeling of satisfaction at being able to overcome a challenge, the delicious fish and chips at Willows Galley...the whole experience, simple as it was, made a deep impression, and the kids have been talking about it for the last week.

In life, it is the simple pleasures which count. Being with those you care about, and who care about you, communicating with them, laughing with them, experiencing the world and each other in new ways...those are the moments which remain with me always...those are the moments I cherish most.