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Carl Ficks

Seeing the Unseen

What do you see in the sketch embedded in this article?

The face of an old woman?

Or the face of a young lady?

The mind can play tricks, preventing you from seeing what is, or always has been, right in front of you.

George Carlin once quipped, “some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”

So what do you see?

The pandemic has changed habits and eviscerated group rides which, in turn, has liberated me to mix it up. I’m now all about my solo morning rides. 

I have reversed many of my “go to” routes, and now I am grinding up hills in my granny gear instead of descending those same hills at 35 mph. I am also exploring roads and routes I, foolishly, never knew existed.

The unintended result? I have seen things never before seen in all my years of riding, like…

…the rusted shell of a small school bus, eerily reminiscent of the abandoned bus in Alaska where Chris McAndless died, as immortalized in Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild. How many kids did that bus carry to school or on field trips? How did it get to its final resting place?

…a vintage 1940’s concrete mixer engulfed in weeds after many years of…what? Of building dreams? Of playing a vital role in the post-war boom? Of churning out the base of a swimming pool?

…a 1969 Pontiac GTO, the legendary muscle car every high-schooler wanted to get his hands on, sitting eerily quiet and partially covered under a tarp. Did that car once drag race a Shelby or a ‘Cuda? How many drive-in movies did that car sit through?

…a stone foundation of a house perilously perched on a steep incline leading to the Farmington River. Was the main dwelling swept away by the raging waters of the epic “Flood of 1955”? 

Poe had a more macabre take on what people see, and whether it is real, when he penned A Dream Within a Dream…”All that we see or seem. Is but a dream within a dream.”

My morning rides are not dreams within dreams. To the contrary, they are new adventures revealing what I have never seen before, each fresh discovery telling a story in its silence yet begging fascinating questions. 

And I look forward to discovering more of what, unknowingly, has always been right in front of me. 

I have just been moving too fast to see it. 

Covid-19 has slowed me down, and for that I am thankful. 

Seeing the unseen.

What will you see for the first time today?

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