Summers are always a welcome change in a city that sees harsh winters with gusty winds. The air is light and vibrant, people relatively less grumpy and nature at its full bloom with trees getting back to their true colors and flowers coming out. Apparently, the campus (Columbia University) is dull during this time as most of the students head back home.
During summers I usually pick up a couple of outdoor activities like biking, swimming, hiking, playing firs-bee, or sometimes just sitting in central park with the weekend edition of New York Times. A week ago I was invited by one of my friends for a bike ride across the Hudson, to which I graciously agreed. We plannned on crossing the George Washington Bridge (GWB) to New Jersy, heading to a state park and then coming back to New York. Interestingly I found that GWB has the greatest capacity of any bridge in the world, carrying approximately 106 million vehicles per year, making it the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge.
Me (left) and Nils at the State Park
My partner for the ride was Nils - a cool french guy in our lab. He is one of those people who are so social that they can get along with anyone and everyone. One of his other quality is that he can make some of the most offensive jokes without offending you. He is an avid biker. The ride was pretty intense as at times I had to push really really hard to keep him in sight, and he was riding quite fast. Some of the roads were so steep that I almost thought my organs will come out if I put in more effort. But also there was a sweet satisfaction of completing the stretch and then enjoying the ride downwards where you just feel the cool air on the body and let go of everything.
Intense physical exercises like biking and running give a certain kind of pleasantness to the mood, the same is the experience of a deep meditation. After a while all the thoughts are gone and you are just in the moment, there is a certain kind of stillness in the air as though time has frozen, the body feels light, the mind is alert and relaxed at the same time. I got the same feeling and lost the track of time while gazing the sunset, marveling the beauty of nature and having a deep sense of gratitude towards life and its gifts....