“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” — Ansel Adams
I have a friend who is an artist and long-time high school art teacher. His wife is an art professor at one of our local universities. On a weekend together for a concluding ballet performance at a summer intensive for our BFF dancing daughters, we had time for a walk from the hotel to a nearby lake. While on the walk, we probably stopped six times over the two blocks to the lake to look at a variety of leaves and spider webs, admire patterns in bark and tree branches, and notice the designs and architecture of the structures and buildings that we passed on the way to the lake. The walk to the lake is something that I will always remember. Noticing things from the perspective of an artist gave me a new insight into seeing the world with different eyes.
While on the bike rides, I try to notice and appreciate things that would be missed with my head down and focused on the road. The rides are tremendously more meaningful and memorable when you can notice and absorb the sights, smells, and feelings of the ride. The beauty or blandness of the landscapes and the realization of what you are actually doing, and how quickly it will be over and only a memory, constantly create senses of awe throughout the rides.
Here is a video of one of a favorite phenomena while riding bicycles on the open roads. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t have a name–no one, as I can tell, has noticed and described this concept online. People who study acoustics and relativity also have little to say about the topic. We’ve read posts in physics forums that try to talk about the experience from a theoretical perspective, but very few seem to have actually experienced the phenomena. We call them dead zones.
The neat thing about the dead zone is that silence and calm happens in the middle of turbulence. Before dropping into the dead zone, the strong winds that blow around you are noticeable–you feel them on your skin and pushing you down the road, you hear them in your ears, and you can see the grass, plants, and trees around you blowing and shifting in the wind. The dead zone almost makes you forget that the wind is blowing hard. Only the shifting and blowing grass reminds you that you are caught up in a strong wind.
If I were a preacher or motivational philosopher, I could try to draw parallels between the experiences of riding in a dead zone and noticing special things during the difficult, busy, and turbulent times in life. Stay focused, be in sync with your surroundings, and enjoy the ride. There are special things to see and experience all around around us.