Selected New Experiences, September 3, 2023

September 3, 2023 by Joshua
in Fitness, Habits, Nature, SIDCHAs

I’ve been posting Sundays about the books and movies I finished that week. This week I didn’t finish any new books or movies, but I did a few new things.

A New Vegetable for Me: Jicama

I discovered a new vegetable this week, jicama:

I’d never heard of the vegetable, but I saw a bunch of them in the food scrap bin when I dropped mine off. They looked like radishes, turnips, rutabagas, or odd potatoes so I took them from the scraps and brought them home. They were mildly sweet, but I couldn’t identify them. I showed them to Evelyn from the spring workshop and she immediately identified them.

I looked them up and now I’m enjoying them without abandon.

By the way, the heirloom tomato behind them I got from volunteering. I think most American buyers and store workers have come to see the bright red identical tomatoes from industrial producers as normal. These heirloom ones taste amazing. I don’t mind salvaging them for others to get free and then ending up with some myself since the guests often leave them behind, and we volunteers are allowed to take some.

60-Mile Bike Ride, including some hills, to my CSA Farm

Last year I bike-camped most of the way to my CSA farm’s annual potluck lunch. A flat tire the first day led to not making it the whole way. My mom and stepfather were driving there, so picked me up and drove me the last twenty miles the second day.

Yesterday, I took the first MetroNorth (commuter rail) to Poughkeepsie and rode the last fifty miles. So it’s new that I finished the ride, though I rode less total distance today than the combined two days last time.

Here’s the bike map. It doesn’t show elevation and it wasn’t the alps, but I rode a few hills in the bike’s lowest gear for a while. On the other hand, the day was perfect for riding. The map predicted 4:44 riding time. I started riding at 9am and arrived at 2:20pm. Including two twenty-minute breaks to eat, I guess they got the time right, even without asking if I’m middle-aged and can’t ride like I used to.

Longtime readers might know I rode from Philadelphia to Maine and back with a friend the summer after graduating high school. The year was 1988. The ride was 1,500 miles and took about a month. I was 16 and turned 17 during the ride.

The one part of that ride we couldn’t ride was a bridge over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie. They wouldn’t let us bike over it, so we hitchhiked. Yesterday, I found they have since built a pedestrian/bike bridge north of that bridge, so I biked over it. Here’s a picture of the old bridge we hitchhiked over from the new one.

Tragically, I’d say that I rarely went farther than fifty yards without passing litter by the roadside, often a lot. None of the time did I spend by land that hadn’t been “developed.” People can point out we’ve always changed nature, but paving it over, turning what land they can to lawns that people loudly mow, and so on is different than leaving it relatively untouched and everyone knows it.

We’re increasing plastic production and people are becoming inured to its effects, lying to ourselves that it’s a sanitation issue, as if it could be resolved with more effort. Only by stopping producing it can we prevent serious global problems already happening.

I got a ride back to the Bronx from two people. From there I rode home, about ten miles.

Back to my ride, as usual for me, the hardest part was doing the over-fifty burpees as part of my calisthenics sidcha before going to sleep. Also climbing up eleven flights of stairs with about forty pounds of solar equipment to charge my batteries twice today. But it beats polluting as much as most Americans, or in my case, as much as the average Indian.

As I’ve said, if you do something that kills people and you don’t want to kill people, you have to stop doing that thing.

On a lighter note, I ate about three-quarters of a jicama during the ride, among other food. Jicama is mostly water so it was like eating time-released water. I passed several apple orchards I was tempted to pick a fruit from (but didn’t, as I brought fruit and nuts with me) as well as many farmers markets with brightly colored produce.

New Sustainability Commitments from Workshop Participants Doing the Spodek Method With Me

When I started doing workshops in the Spodek Method and demonstrations included teaching people to do it with me, I worried I’d run out of commitments to do. How many articles have you read saying things like “Ten Little Things You Can Do for the Environment”? I believed you could only do so many things.

Experience proved otherwise. The more I do, the more I learn I can do. All performance-based arts work this way. Playing more music doesn’t lead you to run out of music to play. Practicing more plays in a sport doesn’t lead you to run out of plays you can run. The opposite.

This summer, I’m teaching two Workshops plus coaching, so I’m doing four commitments. One is meditating outdoors, which I started last weekend and loved so did again today. I can’t believe I’ve only meditated indoors despite doing it daily for years and sporadically about fifteen years. Here are some pictures from the pier I went to at around 7am last weekend and today.

It’s not as quiet as a meditation room in a secluded retreat, but it’s more quiet than my apartment, from which I’m guaranteed to hear sirens, cars with mufflers deactivated, people yelling, and such in a twenty or forty-minute session. On the other hand, the helicopters are farther away and some noises, like waves lapping or wind blowing don’t distract.

There’s no escaping the litter.

People ostensibly just going to relax think nothing of bringing a container that will poison wildlife and humans for centuries. The overwhelming majority of people seem not to think twice to casually paying for disposable containers to use for a few minutes before poisoning the biosphere with them for centuries.

How do people not get sick over this common image? Insouciance.

This morning, the boat at the end of the dock in the video below was running its engine before I arrived and kept going after I left. I’d guess it was about two hundred yards away, but I could smell the Diesel fume and heard its noise I took this video so you could hear the noise, but I think the camera filtered it out. You can hear some noise in the video, but not as much as I heard trying to meditate.

Beyond the biking and meditating outdoors, I’ve also kayaked on the Hudson for the first time this year and took my first voice lesson, building on earlier singing commitments. Living sustainably leads to participating in community more actively, in particular, practicing culture.

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