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  • Writer's pictureHu Eliot Young

Zen and the sport of cycling

Call it resiliency. Maybe adaptability. Go out on a limb and consider "flexibility." However fluid the phrase or resonant the etymology, any of the terms speak to the amazing capacity of children to break down barriers, manifest joy and wonder and show us the pathway to our "better selves."

Coaching and working with youth over what now approaches five decades, I can bear personal testimony of just how greatly children can enhance our capacity to slow down and smell the petunias or other bouquets. I will stop right there. Just when you think you are giving something, you realize how much more you are receiving in return.

Consider the philosophy of the "slow food" movement, where you are invited to appreciate the aromas, ambience and artisan workmanship of "breaking bread." Association with children catapults one from the hurly burly, hectic maelstrom of adult business interaction into a forgotten world where time stands (relatively) still. Alright, alright. As T.S. Eliot opined, "no short statement is always correct." But remember the rejoinder of the Oxford Don's pupil, "What about that statement?"

Cycling is, in many respects, the travel equivalent of the slow food movement. It offers one the opportunity to travel in a manner where the journey is as integral an element as the destination. One is rewarded for one's toil in a multitude of ways that transcend the spectacular views and bella vistas. How a propos, then, that the Haida Gwaii totem travel tour has bonded with the Stollery Children's Hospital to present such a wonderful opportunity to dedicate time, energy and monetary consideration to a worthwhile endeavour. There is, in the totem pole, a symbolic and soulful transposition between communities and I am grateful for the privilege to be a part of this event.

When I learned of this venture, I quickly came on board. It touches the heart and soul. Shortly thereafter, I learned of the diagnosis of cancer to one of my three children. This young man, forever my son, my child, is in my heart, my mind and my thoughts. He epitomizes the grace, trust and dignity I have found in children and I venture forth to ride with him in my mind and for the Stollery.

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